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

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After Booker T. Washington’s death, no single person rose to represent all African Americans.  The Progressivism that carried Du Bois into the limelight waned with the onset of the First World War. His militancy, antagonism, and elitism separated him from the masses, especially in the deep South. African Americans did not fully trust the NAACP because many of its leaders were white. While the Harlem Renaissance brought attention to the cultural attractions of black America, it did not produce a national leader. The Great Depression sidetracked national attention from civil rights for African Americans; survival was America's primary objective. Though African Americans served valiantly during WWII, they returned to second class citizenship at home. Many historians agree that post war America was the impetus behind the modern civil rights movement but success was twenty years away. Meanwhile, African Americans had to seek help where it was available. They turned to local leaders who did not dream of greatness, but challenged injustice when encountered.

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