Presentation on theme: "Race, Power & Equality Poli 110J 8.1 the shadow of fear ever hung."— Presentation transcript:
Race, Power & Equality Poli 110J 8.1 the shadow of fear ever hung
The Role of the Church given the peculiar circumstances of the black mans environment [his religious institutions] were the one expression of his higher life. (130) – Aesthetic – Spiritual – Philosophical – Economic & social
Three things characterize the religion of the slave from which the black church descends – The Preacher – The Music – The Frenzy
The Preacher A leader, a politician, an orator, a boss, an intriguer, an idealist. (129) Descended from the Medicine Man/Priest – The chief could not survive enslavement, but the Priest could Christianized by exposure & convenience Center of the church organization
The Music The most original and beautiful expression of human life and longing yet born on American soil (129) The articulate message of the slave to the world (169) a faith in the ultimate justice of things (175) Of death the Negro showed little fear, but talked of it familiarly and even fondly (173)
The Music They tell us in these eager days that life was joyous to the black slave, careless and happy… But these songs are the music of an unhappy people, of the children of disappointment, they tell of death and suffering and unvoiced longing toward a truer world… (169)
The Frenzy When the Spirit of the Lord passed by, and, seizing the devotee, made him mad with supernatural joy (129) Old as religion, as Delphi and Endor Many generations firmly believed that without this visible manifestation of the God there could be no true communion with the invisible. (130)
Du Bois on the church The church is historically the core institution of black society in America – It predates even the mongamic black household – It remains the center of black society and economy – It is also the ethical and political center of black communities
Problems Historically, especially in the South, the church has served not to undermine but to reinforce the oppression of blacks Nothing suited [the slaves] condition better than the doctrines of passive submission embodied in the newly learned Christianity Deep religious fatalism – Children we shall all be free/When the Lord shall appear! (134-135)
Problems Transformation of the African into the slave – Courtesy became humility, moral strength degenerated into submission, and the exquisite native appreciation of the beautiful became an infinite capacity for dumb suffering. – Losing faith in this world, the slave looked to the next – Marxist criticism of class & religion as applied to race
The Enslaving Power of Ideas Example: The Coming of John – John is happy in Altamaha, plays with the Judges boy One never sees in the North such cordial and and intimate relations between white and black as are everyday occurrences with us [Southerners]. (158) – Goes away to school, sees wider world, advances himself. – Now wants to be addressed not by his first name, but as Mister.
The Enslaving Power of Ideas On return to Altamaha, is denounced by others as stuck up. In church, when he argues that church & sectarian concerns should be replaced in black life with a focus on unity, on racial and social issues, he is held up to scorn and scathing denunciation for trampling on the true Religion. (161)
The Enslaving Power of Ideas Thus for Du Bois the structure & beliefs of black society, especially in the South, are complicit in the oppression of black people As in Marcuse, even though the beliefs and desires are sincere, the are tools of the oppressing group – Consider the Judge: I like the colored people, and sympathize with all their reasonable aspirations, but you and I both know, John, that in this country the Negro must remain subordinate. (162)
Transcending the Veil Through Truth – I sit with Shakespeare and he flinches not – How does work out for John? One cannot remain in the world of Truth, the world of Fact must at some point be reckoned with.
Transcending the Veil In Death – John – Burghardt Gomer Du Bois: 1897-1899 Died of diphtheria in Atlanta, could have been saved. He knew no color-line, poor dear, and the Veil, though it shadowed him, had not yet darkened half his sun. Not dead, not dead, but escaped; not bond, but free. Well sped, my boy, before the world had dubbed your ambition insolence, had held your ideals unattainable, and taught you to cringe and bow. Better far this nameless void that stops my life than a sea of sorrow for you.
Transcending the Veil Sleep, then, child,--sleep till I sleep and waken to a baby voice and the ceaseless patter of little feetabove the Veil. I shall die in my bonds. – Behind the Veil, life is a chain – Despite the death of his son, Du Bois asks only that he and his people be treated as human beings, having access to the same world as whites. He lives in the hope that blacks and whites will one day be able to live in equality.
Emmet Till Born in Chicago, visiting family (sharecroppers)in Money, Mississippi. Mamie Carthan Till, mother, was worried that Emmet would not understand the differences between Chicago and the Mississippi Delta – Mind your manners. – Tensions on the rise after Brown v. Board of Education (1954) – The permanent awareness of existing within an actively hostile majority
Emmet Till Facts uncertain At local grocery store, Till probably dared by friends to flirt with Carolyn Bryant, a 21 year- old white woman. – Whistled? (most probable) – Grabbed hand, asked for date? – Said, Bye, baby. on leaving?
Emmet Till One of friends runs off to tell Emmets cousin, Wheeler Parker, Jr. – Advised to get away fast – Parker on Till: "He loved pranks, he loved fun, he loved jokes... in Mississippi, people didn't think the same jokes were funny." – All Delta natives know what can happen The permanent threat of violence is a fact of life
Emmet Till Word spreads quickly among towns whites Bryants husband vows to teach the boy a lesson At 12:30am, the Bryants & two other men drive to house of Rev. Wright, where Till was staying, take him away in the back of a pickup
Emmet Till Taken to a shed Beaten, skull fractured Eye gouged out Shot in the head Wrapped in barded wire, bound to 70 lb. cotton gin fan, dumped in rive
Emmet Till NAACP leader Medgar Evars arrives to help investigate in face of police indifference Murdered in Mississippi, June 12, 1963 by rifle shot to the head At trial, positive identification of jurors, other black witnesses not even called All white jury acquits Bryants, others, in 67 minutes – "If we hadn't stopped to drink pop, it wouldn't have taken us too long.
Emmet Till After trial, Bryant admits to murder – Wanted to scare Till by pistol whipping, but Till remained defiant. Seeing lack of fear, Bryant determined to make an example of him.