40 pages 1 hour read

C. Vann Woodward

The Strange Career of Jim Crow

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1955

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Chapter 4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 4 Summary: “The Man on the Cliff”

By World War I, there was no significant resistance from the North on Southern race policy. However, African Americans participated in the war effort and saw combat overseas. Many other African Americans found work in the war industries. There was renewed hope and rising militancy as African Americans and their white allies advocated for the restoration of rights lost under Jim Crow and disenfranchisement. However, in the final months of 1919, 25 race riots occurred in both Southern and Northern American cities. In the 1920s and 1930s Jim Crow was further solidified in the South. The Ku Klux Klan, founded in Georgia in 1915, reached its peak membership of 5 million people in the mid-1920s. The Klan found a larger membership outside of the South, reflecting the rise of racist doctrines across the United States. In the postwar period it seemed like the Southern way was quickly becoming the American way in race relations.

During the Great Depression, however, interracial violence declined. The New Deal brought some new opportunities in education, housing, culture, and health to African American communities. As racial tensions eased in the South, “an avalanche of denunciation, criticism, and opprobrium descended upon the South from above the Mason and Dixon line” (207).

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By C. Vann Woodward

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