James Lee Dickey: An Analysis of One African-American's Leadership in Jim Crow Texas

If You Lead Me...

Because slave owners had prevented their slaves from practicing self-reliance and from gaining an academic education, freedmen endured an onerous burden. Since the terms of Reconstruction granted voting rights to an inexperienced electorate, many vulnerable freedmen were elected to political office quickly. Not surprisingly, white Southerners were infuriated to be governed by those they still believed to be less than human (Dred Scott, 1856). With the yoke of slavery removed, many freedmen disparaged physical labor and sought a life of ease. In a few short years, they distanced themselves from the skills gained in bondage and equated hard work with shame but still had to provide for themselves. In the transition between the 19th and 20th centuries, two African American leaders emerged, both claiming to represent their people but each traversing different paths. Booker T. Washington and WEB DuBois began the journey together but diverged when Southern whites named Washington the leader of the black race. Their subsequent animosity diminished racial progress to the point that African Americans had to look to local leaders for assistance.

This page has paths:

Contents of this path:

This page references: