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segregation and discrimination in texas
Segregation and Discrimination that effected
Black Texans and Mexican Americans in Texas
Historians have described the early twentieth century as the nadir of race relations in this country. Ironically, populism, which tried to create a biracial political coalition, helped to encourage segregation in the south. Attempting to prevent any coalition of blacks and poor white farmers, establishment Democratic politicians frequently demonstrated their Negrophobia by accusing blacks of having inherently inferior racial characteristics and warning that such innate flaws threatened society. There began a move to make African Americans outsiders, governed by political leaders for whom they could not vote and segregated by law and custom into a separate society.
The movement largely succeeded. In rural areas of Texas, most blacks did not vote, as they became victims of all white primaries. As black Texans migrated to cities, however, they acquired some voting power.
Excluded from political participation, black Texans watched as white officials segregated public facilities. The state legislature in 1910 and 1911 ordained that railroad stations must have separate waiting rooms and separate water fountains and restrooms existed at public facilities. It was virtually impossible for the black citizens to stay at major hotels; to eat in better restaurants, to attend most cultural or other entertainment events unless segregated, inferior seating sections were provided.
Vigilante style violence as well as law enforcement agencies upheld the separate and unequal society. Texas ranked third nationally in lynching, as mobs killed over 100 blacks between 1900 and 1910. In 1916, race riots erupted periodically throughout the period. White prejudice included animosity toward black troops in the U.S. Army. Brownville whites objected to the stationing of the all black Twenty fifth Infantry at Fort Brown. They charged that the troops raided the city in 1906 in protest of discriminatory practices. Later evidence demonstrated the unfairness of the charges, but by that time President Theodore Roosevelt had dishonorably discharged 160 of the troops. Black soldiers resentment of segregation flamed into a clash with white citizens in 1917 in Houston.
Without recourse to political power, blacks in Texas, as in the rest of the nation, often chose both accommodation and resistance to segregation. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded a chapter in 1912 in Houston, and by 1930 it had organized thirty others in the state. A Texas committee on interracial violence organized in1928 to fight extra legal acts against blacks. By then both the Dallas Morning news and the San Antonio Express had condemned lynchings. The Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching, led by Jessie Daniel Ames of Texas, mobilized strong moral opposition to violence during the 1930s. By then, most church organizations and Congressman Maury Maverick of San Antonio, who later supported a federal antilynching law, were on record as opposing racial violence. In 1942 last lynching in Texas took place.
The majority of blacks stayed in rural areas, where they worked as tenants and farm laborers. As cotton prices fell, their chances to acquire their own farms decreased. Some turned to the Farmer's Improvement Society, organized by R.L. Smith in the 1890s. A Colored Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union was founded in Dallas in 1905. Other organizations established farmers' institutes and local cooperative associations. These organizations all spoke of accommodation and self help to counteract poverty and segregation. But rural Texans remained poor, and black poverty exceeded that of most whites.
Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican and the organizer of the Universal Negro Association, advocated black pride, a back-to-Africa movement, and the development of black enterprises. His attempt to found a local chapter in Dallas in 1922 met with opposition, as did the efforts of Sam, from many black leaders and middle-class African Americans. The expanding economy of the 1920s did open new employment opportunities for black males as porters and chauffeurs and in building trades and oil refining. Except as janitors and laborers, the public sector hired few African Americans.
The segregated communities produced a small black bourgeoisie. Ministers and teachers composed the largest occupational group of black professionals in 1930. The number of black undertakers went from 1 in 1900 to 198 in 1929, and they joined the black bourgeoisie of the period. Most black Texans lacked financial and occupational security, however, and the Great Depression would devastate their community.
William M. McDonald used his connections with black Masons to convince other fraternal groups in 1912 to help him establish the Fraternal Bank and Trust Company in Fort Worth. His influence in the African American communities of the state made him perhaps the most important black political leader of the 1920s. Black Texans had organized separate institutions by 1930 that furnished intellectual and social stimulation apart from white society. These organizations, strong in those urban areas with an increasing black population, schooled young blacks that would
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