Black Americans (03:47)
Not all black American life and culture is the same. Black Americans have always had their own networks and associations, which Brooker T. Washington called "the grapevine telegraph."
Origins of Black Communities (04:49)
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and black leaders talk about black communities. Free black communities began developing before the Civil War. About 10% of black people were free and many clustered around major cities.
Black Convention Movement (06:35)
The movement began as a way to protect black communities from racial violence, like that which occurred in Cincinnati in 1829. Black leaders debated how to protect free and enslaved black people in the United States and whether American citizenship was a goal.
Underground Railroad and Prince Hall Masons (07:11)
The Underground Railroad went through free black communities and operated inside established black networks, like churches. Hall was an abolitionist who started a masonic lodge that assisted the Underground Railroad.
Black Education (06:22)
Some saw black education as a threat to slavery and leaders outlawed it in many states. Black educators, especially women, went to great lengths to ensure education was possible. Hampton University is the result of Mary Peake secretly teaching children to read.
Black Literary Societies (04:57)
Literary societies became an outlet for black literature, theater, and thought. In the early 19th century, the societies helped create a black literary history that was not about slavery and oppression.
Black Love (06:11)
Love and families were another way to create informal networks and show freedom. In 1845, the first anthology of black literature, which was about love, was published in the United States.
Reconstruction Era (06:49)
Black organizations, politics, and networks flourished in the years after the Civil War. The goal of Reconstruction was to create a biracial democracy. Black women laborers moved to Atlanta and became a powerful organizing force.
"Women's Era" (04:43)
As the Reconstruction Era ended and became the Jim Crow Era, a rise in national organization for black women occurred. The National Association of Colored Women acted as a political and social agent advocating for black communities.
Credits: "Making Black America: Episode 1" (00:60)
Credits: "Making Black America: Episode 1"
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