Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born a slave in Virginia. Washington was an educator (teacher) and an author. When slavery ended, Washington moved to West Virginia. After working in many jobs, he was able to attend college. When he graduated from college, he taught for a while then was offered the job to head (be in charge of) the Tuskegee Institution in Alabama.
Washington was a good fundraiser who received money from many northern business leaders and politicians to build several technical schools for African-Americans. Washington promoted (pushed) the idea that the best approach for African-Americans to gain a foothold in white society was through hard work, education, and economic accomplishments, before gaining full civil rights.
In Georgia history he is most well-known for his Atlanta Compromise Speech which he presented (gave) at the International Cotton Exposition of 1895. This speech brought his ideas of cooperation (bringing together) and his “going slow” approach to the forefront of the early civil rights movement. This approach was tarnished (hurt) by the numerous lynchings (hangings) during the time period as well as events like the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot. Even so, many blacks and whites continued to support Washington and his ideals until his death in 1915. Washington was only 59 when he died.
Often viewed as Booker T. Washington’s intellectual opposition (his opposite in thinking), W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) supported many of Washington’s beliefs early in his career. However, after the actions of the southern states to prevent African-American civil rights (like Jim Crow laws), along with events like the Atlanta Race Riot, DuBois was determine to fight for immediate social and political rights of African-Americans.
William Edward Burghardt DuBois was born in Massachusetts. DuBois was successful in school and attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. There, DuBois was exposed to the harsh realities of racial segregation (separation) and Jim Crow laws for the first time. Through these experiences, he began to form (create) his thoughts about combating these laws. At Fisk, DuBois developed (created) the concept of “the talented tenth”,or an elite (educated, wealthy) group of college educated African-Americans who would use their talents (intelligence, education) and position to help eradicate (get rid of) segregation in American society.
DuBois accepted a position at Atlanta University (later Clark Atlanta). Serving at Clark from 1897-1910 and returning in 1934-1944, DuBois wrote some of his most famous books and helped create the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1906.
DuBois’ time in Atlanta during the New South period and later in the 1930s and 40s shaped his views about civil rights. Because of his position as a college professor, as well as a black man, DuBois became an important figure in the early Civil Rights Movement. His organization, the NAACP, and his ideas for immediate social and political rights (voting, integrated public facilities, etc.) for all African-Americans, led to the successes of the Modern Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
John and Lugenia Burns Hope
John Hope (1868-1936) was an important educator, civil rights leader, and social reformer in Atlanta. Hope, who became the first black president of both Morehouse and Atlanta University (Clark Atlanta University today), was also actively involved in the NAACP and the southern-based Commission on Interracial Cooperation (CIC).
Hope was born in Augusta to a Scottish (white) father and black mother. Though interracial marriage (marriage of two people of different races, normally black and white) was illegal in Georgia, Hope’s parents lived openly as a married couple until his father’s death in 1876. After quitting school in the 8th grade to support his family, Hope moved north to finish his education. Eventually, he completed a B.A. (college) degree from Brown University in Rhode Island. After teaching in Tennessee for a few years, Hope returned to Atlanta where he accepted a position at Morehouse College.
Lugenia Burns Hope (1871-1947) was John Hope’s wife and a community organizer, reformer, and social activist.
While in Atlanta, Lugenia Burns Hope established (created) the Neighborhood Union, which fought for better conditions in African-American schools (better books, desks, teachers, etc.) and developed health education campaigns. In 1932, she became the first vice-president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP.
Alonzo Herndon’s (1858-1927) life is a true “rags to riches story.” Herndon was born to a slave mother and white father in Social Circle, Georgia. After the Civil War and emancipation (freeing of the slaves), Herndon’s father sent him and his family off the farm, where they found work as share croppers. An entrepreneur from an early age, Herndon helped support his family by selling peanuts and molasses (a type of sugar candy), saving as much of his earnings (money earned) as possible.
In 1878, he left Social Circle with $11 dollars. Later, he moved to Jonesboro where he set up his own barber shop. Eventually, he made his way to Atlanta where he was hired as a barber, and soon became partner in the shop. He eventually opened three barber shops, including one in downtown Atlanta that was marketed as “the best barber shop in the South.”
Herndon proved to be even more successful with his creation of the Atlanta Mutual Life Insurance Company, which offered insurance coverage (medical, life, etc.) to African-Americans. Herndon hired college educated African-Americans to work at his company and developed (created) a reputation of running his business in a fair and equitable (honest) manner. In the 1920s, the company changed its name to the Atlanta Life Financial Group. Today, the group is worth over 100 million dollars and is constantly (repeatedly) ranked as one of the top black owned financial companies.
Reasons for World War I
There were several reasons for World War I. All of these factors (reasons) came to a head (a point) with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary by a Yugoslavian nationalist (a person loyal to Yugoslavia). Believing that the Kingdom of Serbia was involved in the assassination, Austria-Hungary invaded them. Due to the alliance (agreements between countries) system, Russia came to Serbia’s aid. This led to Germany and the Ottoman Empire entering the war on the side of Austria-Hungary with France and England siding with Russia. The war lasted for four years (1914-1918) and resulted in the death of millions of people throughout Europe.
The United States did not become involved in the war until 1917. Even though they were upset by the sinking of the passenger ship the Lusitaniaby a German submarine in 1915, resulting in 128 American deaths, the last straw (the reason we entered the war) was the Zimmerman Telegram. This German message was sent to Mexico offering the country a chance to ally (join) with Germany and attacks the United States. In return, Germany promised the return of the territories that Mexico lost to the United States during the Mexican-American War (New Mexico, Arizona, parts of Texas and California). Upon discovering (seeing) this telegram, the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.
Georgia’s Contributions to WWI
Georgia made several contributions (or gave) to the U.S. war effort during World War I. One of these contributions included providing more military training camps than any other state. These camps included Fort McPherson, Camp Gordon, Camp Benning, and Camp Stewart. In addition, over 100,000 Georgians took part in the war effort, and over 3000 soldiers died in the fight in Europe. In turn, many of Georgia’s non-combatants bought war bonds (money to support the troops) and grew “victory gardens” (grew vegetables and fruits) to help supply the troops.
The boll weevil is an insect whose larva (undeveloped (kid) insect) feeds on the cotton plant. While the pest (insect) is thought to have originated in Central America, by the 1890s it made its way into Mexico and then on to Texas. By 1915, it had migrated (moved) to Georgia and drastically reduced (really decreased) the states’ cotton crop. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, due to the destruction (damage) caused by the boll weevil, Georgia cotton farmers went from producing “5.2 million acres of cotton in 1914 to 2.6 million acres in 1923.”
The boll weevil had a huge impact on Georgia’s economy and rural population. Due to the loss of cotton acreage, along with the recruitment (encouragement to move) of northern companies, millions of African-Americans moved to northern cities. In addition, many sharecroppers and tenant farmers, both black and white left the farms and moved to Georgia cities such as Atlanta and Macon.
Additionally, the destruction of the cotton crop forced Georgians to diversify their economy. Cotton ceased to be Georgia’s primary agricultural product. By 1983, Georgia only produced 115,000 acres of cotton. Also, with the population movement into the cities, Georgia’s manufacturing continued to develop, though slowed greatly by the Great Depression.
While a lot of damage was caused by the boll weevil, Georgia farmers suffered through another disaster in the 1920’s and 1930’s: drought. A drought happens when there is very little rain. The worst droughts in Georgia history were from 1924-1927 and 1930-1935. These droughts severely impacted Georgia farmers’ ability to produce agricultural products. With the damage caused by the boll weevil and the droughts, Georgia began to suffer from a depression long before the rest of the United States.