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extract from The Declaration of Independence - 'All men are created equal...'

[Detail] extract from The Declaration of Independence

Solving the Race Problem

Activity 1 - Progress of A People

Activity 2 - Research

Activity 3 - Synthesis of the 1953 Convention

Activity 1 - Progress of A People

Examine both documents, and then answer questions below. You may want to examine the full text as well as the excerpt.

Industrial Education Pamphlet - "Nineteenth Annual Report of the Tuskegee Institute" by Booker T. Washington.

  1. Why were schools such as Tuskegee Institute significant in advancing the causes of African Americans?
  2. What was some of the criticism of the Tuskegee Institute?
  3. Why could Booker T. Washington be viewed as a hypocrite?

Higher Education Pamphlet - "The Primary Needs of the Negro Race" by Kelly Miller.

  1. What was meant by "practical education" at the Hampton & Tuskegee Institutes?
  2. What kind of education did the Niagara Movement support?
  3. What view of education did Kelly Miller support?


Activity 2 - Research

Keyword searches should use words that would be found in speeches and written documents. This often includes legal terms and professional names, for example, suffrage is used more often than voting. Below is a compilation of keywords you may find helpful in searching the American Memory collections and other materials:

  • Niagra Movement
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Marcus Garvey
  • Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
  • Executive Order 9081
  • industrial schools
  • Tuskegee Airmen
  • Great Migration
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • National Negro Business League
  • National Urban League

African American Odyssey contains a wide array of important and rare books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings. See the Special Presentation, African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship for information on equal rights from the early national period to the twentieth century.

African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907 presents a panoramic and eclectic review of African-American history and culture, from the early nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries. Among the authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Benjamin W. Arnett, Alexander Crummel, and Emanuel Love. Progress of a People is a Special Presentation of African American Perspectives, 1818-1907.

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940 is a collection of oral history interviews. The interviews describe the informant's family education, income, occupation, political views, religion and mores, medical needs, diet and miscellaneous observations.

Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s tells the story of Jackie Robinson and baseball in general. The Special Presentation, Baseball, the Color Line, and Jackie Robinson, 1860s-1960s, is a timeline that tells the story of the segregation and later integration of the sport.

Activity 3- Synthesis of the 1953 Convention

Working in your expert groups, your next task is to plan a 1953 meeting to consider the status of the race at the middle of the twentieth century. Research the topic of your 1898 conference session, looking for more recent data on the topic for discussion at the 1953 meeting.

  1. Meet in your expert groups to examine the resources and information each of you located in your research.
  2. Next, your expert group will evaluate these resources to determine which two or three of them give a good overview of the topic and plan a short meeting session.
  3. For each resource identified, consider how it relates to your session topic, and whether it's a primary or a secondary source.