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Ch. 9: Life at the Turn of the 20th Century:

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1 Ch. 9: Life at the Turn of the 20th Century: 1870-1915

2 Section 1: The Expansion of Education
With urban migration, schools became bigger and new needs needed to be addressed.

3 Public School Growth In 1870, just over half the nation’s white children attended free public schools, but few earned high school degrees. Only 2% of all 17-year-olds graduated from high school. Most students only went for a few years, often seasonally. At the time of the Civil War, just over half the nation’s white children attended free public schools, but few earned high school degrees. In 1870, only 2% of all 17-year-olds graduated from high school. Most students only went for a few years, often seasonally, to learn basic reading and writing.

4 Growth By 1900, 31 states had laws requiring students between ages 8 and 14 to attend school. By 1910, 72 percent of children attended school and 8.6 percent graduated from high school.

5 School Days In the early 1900s, most of the nation’s children attended one-room schools, particularly in rural areas. Schooling focused on reading, writing, and arithmetic. Discipline was often harsh. Classrooms varied in age, ability, and numbers.

6 Immigrants and Education
Immigrants placed a high value on American public education. In some cases, free, public education was not available in their home countries. Parents saw a good education as a necessary tool for their children’s development and success in a new country.

7 Immigrant Education Literacy, the ability to read and write, was the most important aspect of an immigrants education. Being able to communicate in English was vital for immigrants in order to survive and gain employment. Schools helped immigrants assimilate to American culture.

8 World Literacy Rates

9 Immigrant Assimilation
Assimilation- the process of adopting a new culture. Many immigrants tried hard to assimilate to American culture, food, sports, and traditions in order to “fit in”. Assimilation often causes tension between families and people groups, as some try to assimilate while others cling to their former culture.

10 Higher Education Expands
Between 1880 and 1900, over 150 new American colleges and universities opened. Despite new colleges, only a small, wealthy percentage of students attended colleges.

11 Women and Higher Education
In the late 1800s there was increased pressure on men’s colleges to admit women. Rather than admit women, some schools founded separate institutions for women. Other schools became coeducational- admitted both men and women.

12 African Americans and Higher Education
In 1890, only 160 African Americans attended white colleges. While some white schools began accepting blacks, the late 1800s also saw the founding of a number of black colleges. These schools include, Atlanta University, Fisk University, and Howard University.

13 Perspectives of African American Education
There were two different schools of thought regarding the best method for uplifting African Americans through education. The two schools of thought came from two prolific, highly education African Americans: Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois.

14 Booker T. Washington Tuskegee Institute.
African Americans should focus on becoming successful in practical, vocational trades. Succeeding vocationally and economically would win white respect. -Dedicated his life to a school he founded for African Americans, Tuskegee Institute. -Believed African Americans should put aside their desire for immediate equality, and focus on becoming successful in practical, vocational trades. -Succeeding vocationally and economically, he contested, would eventually win white acceptance and respect.

15 “Cast down your bucket where you are”
“To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition… I would say: ‘Cast down your bucket where you are’- cast it down… in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions… No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.” -Booker T. Washington “To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition… I would say: ‘Cast down your bucket where you are’- cast it down… in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions… No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.” -Booker T. Washington

16 W.E.B. Du Bois Ph.D. from Harvard.
Called for the “talented tenth,” brightest 10% of African Americans to pursue top tier careers (law, medicine, politics). Opposed to the vocational schooling that Washington proposed. -First African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. -Thought Washington’s position was compromising, African Americans must demand equality now. -Believed the best and brightest African Americans had to step forward and lead their people. -Urged what he called the “talented tenth,” or brightest 10% of African Americans to earn advanced, liberal arts degrees as opposed to the vocational schooling that Washington proposed.

17 “not to make men carpenters, but carpenters men.”
“I insist that the true object of all true education is not to make men carpenters, it is to make carpenters men… The Talented Tenth of the Negro race must be made leaders of thought and missionaries of culture among their people. No other can do this work and Negro colleges must train men for it.” – W.E.B. Du Bois

18 Niagara Movement In 1905, Du Bois helped found the Niagara Movement.
Called for full civil liberties, an end to racial discrimination, and recognition of human brotherhood. Du Bois went on to work for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), becoming one of the most well-known black leaders of the century.

19 Section 2: New Entertainment
The growth of urban areas and technological advances created new opportunities for entertainment at the turn of the century.

20 Vaudeville Vaudeville shows were a kind of inexpensive variety show.
Acts consisted of Comic sketches based on ethnic or racial humor Song and dance routines Magic acts Ventriloquism, jugglers, and animals

21 Minstrel Shows “Blackface”
Vaudeville, was an outgrowth of the popular, 1840s minstrel shows. Minstrel shows featured sketches with white actors in “blackface”, black make-up in order to appear black. These racist shows reinforced racial stereotypes, exaggerating imitations of African Americans in music, dance, and humor. “Blackface” These racist shows reinforced racial stereotypes, exaggerating imitations of African Americans in music, dance, and humor.

22 Movies By 1908, the nation had 8,000 nickelodeons, old stores or warehouses converted into movie theatres. Early movies were silent, often accompanied by a live piano player Charlie Chaplin

23 Charlie Chaplin

24 The Circus In 1872, the traveling circus was introduced.
“advance men” came to town to promote the traveling circus. Circuses came, set up big tents, held a parade to kick off the event, then started the paid performances.

25 Posters

26 Amusement Parks The technology of trolley lines gave berth to mechanical rides like the roller coaster. Amusement parks followed, providing music, games, vaudeville productions, bathing beaches, and exciting rides.

27 Coney Island, NY Coney Island led the way with numerous amusement parks and festivities.

28 Sports Sports grew in popularity. Baseball was most popular.
Investors began building enclosed fields and charging people to watch games. Pro teams arose and the nation’s best players were paid to play the game.

29 Newspapers Between 1870 and 1900, newspaper circulation went from 2.6 to 15.1 million copies a day. To compete for readership, publishers encouraged reporters to cover scandals, murders, and vice. This sensational news coverage became known as yellow journalism.

30 Popular Fiction Many “rags to riches” novels, such as those written by Horatio Alger, became popular. “dime books” referred to inexpensive books with a wide readership. Mark Twain was one of the most influential authors. Wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)

31 The Negro Spiritual Through concerts, African American religious folk music, or spirituals, were introduced to white audiences. While making the Negro spiritual more acceptable among whites, singers also transformed the music by adopting other, European musical characteristics.

32 Ragtime and Jazz Originated among black musicians in the South and Midwest during 1880s. Jazz grew out of the vibrant musical culture of New Orleans. Jazz was influenced by African, Spanish, French, and Latin American musical traditions. Scott Joplin: “entertainer”

33 Section 3: The World of Jim Crow
Despite receiving their “freedom” after the Civil War, African Americans continued to experience discrimination, both informally and legally.

34 Voting Restrictions Fearing the power of the black and poor white vote, many southern states implemented tactics to deny voting rights to African Americans. (p. 333) Voting requirements included Poll tax (African Americans couldn’t afford) Must own property (most African Americans didn’t) Literacy test (few African Americans were literate) Grandfather clause- if you or your ancestor had already voted, you were exempt from the other requirements (helped whites avoid restrictions)

35 Segregation Many states instituted a system of legal segregation, keeping different racial groups separate. Sometimes racial separation happens naturally as a result of custom, not legality, this is called “de facto segregation”.

36 Jim Crow laws In the South, segregation was actually required by law.
These segregation laws became known as Jim Crow laws, its name based on a popular minstrel show called “Jump Jim Crow”

37 Separation Segregation laws impacted every aspect of life.
They required the separation of schools, parks, public buildings, hospitals, and transportation systems.

38 South Africa South Africa is another example of racial segregation
Apartheid, the South African term/system for separation, was firmly in place until 1994. Whites only accounted for around 10% of the population, yet still subjugated the entire black population.

39 Plessy v. Ferguson In 1896, African American Homer Plessy says segregation laws violate his right to “equal protection of the laws”. Court rules that African Americans’ rights are not violated if kept separate, as long as their facilities are equal. “Separate but equal” becomes the argument of segregationists for the next 60 years.

40 Lynching Lynching is the murder of an accused person by mob without lawful trial, often including bodily mutilation and hanging. 1,200 African Americans were lynched during a 10 year period, Lynchings were rarely the result of a legitimate crime, but rather a way to inflict fear and a feeling of inferiority among blacks.

41 Race Relations in North
Segregation in the North was not a legal matter, but de facto segregation. African Americans that moved north to avoid segregation often found employment and opportunities scare there as well.

42 The NAACP The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in 1909. Purpose was to abolish segregation and discrimination, and oppose racism. NAACP remained a vital force for civil rights in coming decades.

43 Achievements Despite discrimination, some African Americans overcame the obstacles of racism and achieved significant success. Booker T. Washington with powerful group including Harvard President (far left) and Andrew Carnegie

44 George Washington Carver
Became known for his scientific and agricultural research at Tuskegee Institute. Scientist, botanist, educator, inventor, musician, and artist. A true renaissance man.

45 Madam C. J. Walker Successful businesswoman.
Started a chain of hair and beauty products as well as training schools. By 1916, her company had 20,000 employees.

46 Section 4: Changing Roles of Women
With new jobs, new educational opportunities, and new roles in the home and marketplace, many women experienced significant changes at the turn of the century.

47 Women’s Equality Traditionally, women worked at home or on the farm.
People had conflicting opinions about whether or not women should work outside of the house.

48 Shifts At the turn of the century some young women were migrating to cities to work in factories. Many immigrant women also found work in factories. Women from poor families were forced to work outside the home for income.


50 Women in the Home Most women, however, continued to work primarily in the home. Without many of the modern appliances and conveniences of today, housework itself was much more demanding. Some estimate that simply cleaning the house took hours a week. Women often made their own bread, butchered and preserved their own meat, and made their families own clothing.

51 From Producer to Consumer
As ready-made goods became more available, women began to spend more time purchasing necessities instead of producing them. New methods of consumption, such as stores, catalogs, and advertising were targeted toward women.


53 Department Stores Growing populations, new manufacturing, and improved transportation led to the development of department stores. Large retail stores carrying a wide variety of goods. Attractive due to their variety. Marshall Field in Chicago and Macy’s in NYC

54 Macy’s: Past & Present

55 Chain Stores Chain stores, such as F. W. Woolworth, are born in this era. Due to their size, chain stores could purchase goods from suppliers in large quantities for cheaper prices.

56 Chain Stores today Nearly all major retail/food businesses are chains.

57 Brand Names Both department and chain stores began to popularize and advertise the concept of brand names.

58 Brand names today

59 Rural Free Delivery The United States Post Office began offering rural free deliver (RFD) in 1896. By 1905, the Post Office was delivering mail on 32,000 RFD routes. Bad for local stores, but gave rise to mail-order consumption

60 Mail-order catalogs Rural free deliver (RFD) gave birth to the mail-order catalog industry. Allowed rural families to order products by mail order.

61 Sears, Roebuck, and Co. The Sears catalog was the biggest, most dominant mail-order catalog. Very popular among rural farmers early on. Known as “the consumer’s bible” Sold everything: bicycles, automobiles, groceries, appliances, sewing machines, sporting goods, farming equipment, etc.

62 Shopping online

63 Women in Workplace Many believed careers and married life did not mix, many working women were single. Employer rarely gave these single women supervisory jobs or advanced training, assuming they would leave when they got married. Educated women often became nurses and teachers.

64 Volunteering Many women from the North and South volunteered during the Civil War. After the war many continued volunteering. Women’s clubs were formed, such as the New England Women’s Club and the Chicago Women’s Club These clubs acted as social, educational, and political networks for women. New England Women’s Club

65 “New women” Aside from economic and political changes, the lifestyles of many women began to shift. As more women entered the workforce or college, they gained a new form of independence. Wore shorter hair, less conservative clothing, even pushed to legalize the spread of information about birth control. These “new women” were shocking and threatening to more traditional Americans.

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