Last citizen; Changing image, part one
Well they're happy and carefree singing dancing whenever they can either not to be trusted to run away even kill you if they had a chance. All men were created equal all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. The first and last statements we heard had 200 years and a great change in the minds of men between them. We will examine this period and this change as we explore the changing image of the last citizen. The last citizen the Negro in America a series of programs devoted to the extension of our knowledge of the largest minority group in the United States its problems and the problems it poses to all Americans. The last citizen is produced by Radio Station WB a proto university under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational
broadcasters. The discussions are the producer of the series E-W Rector and Dr. Louis Schneider professor of sociology at Purdue University. Today's program the changing image. Here now is Mr. Rector our opening teaser was a very brief attempt to show the changes in the image the public image of the American Negro during the time between his first importation enter the British colonies and the passage of the 14th Amendment. Shortly after the Civil War. This is the period with which we will be concerned. During this half hour. Today and in next week's program we intend to probe into the public image of the negro That is until some of the conflicting views society at large takes out him and the process of doing so. We want to attempt to trace the changes in the image of the negro from the time of his first appearance on the North American continent to the present.
The reason we can speak of the negro as they are known mine as we did in our first program of course is that most of us know little if anything about him. If we think about the negroes background at all we're likely to think of slavery or of a dim sort of so-called barbaric background preceding the time of slavery. Therefore one of the things we may usefully do today in examining the changing image of the American Negro is to dig a bit into his history the negro slave first came to North American 16:19 from Africa and before whom the Spaniards had used slaves in the Caribbean and Latin America. But what was the background of the was it a barbarian background in the sense in which some people might take this word a background that is a screaming wild men without the rudiments of social organization or what some might call civilization. I visit with the author historian Dr Rayford Logan professor of history at Howard University revealed this information. Some would be skeptical when they hear what I am now about
to say and so it would be well perhaps to comment briefly on the credibility of the witnesses. There were three major African kingdom from about 700 B.C. to the end of the 16th century evidence as to the existence of those. And as to the degree of civilization which they attain rests primarily on the eye witness accounts of hostile travellers especially Arabs. The three kingdoms which I particularly have in mind there were some smaller ones were in quite a logical order. I'm gonna like the new spec gonna Malet and song hate.
The immediate evil paying them of Gond did not occupy the same territory now occupied by the new state gun arm. But it is hallowed by many historians by people living in medieval Don I migrated to the present state of Ghana and that therefore there was justification for that name. It is the considered judgment of many competent historians especially European historians that the stage of civilization attained by these medieval African kingdoms was at least comparable to that in Europe at the same time. Would you like to develop that little bit further. Yes for example they had an ordered system of government usually with a king and a council of notables. They had extensive credo cautiously so how to direct with the North
Africa and with South Western Europe many of their rulers made the pilgrimage to Mecca an indication of the fact that they were Muslims but they were nonetheless. What would be called Negroes today. They had university and there comes to mind instantly the famous city of Timbuktu on The Big Bam of the Niger River on fortunate lay a French explorer by the name of Felix Dubois visitor Timbuktu in the early part of this century and found X-band evidences of the high degree of civilization as manifested by buildings and marketplaces of the people at that time. It is extremely fortunate that Missy had Dubois made that trip because according to recent travelers practically nothing is left. Moreover.
One just asked Chris effect of the slave trade was that in the beginning it was confined largely to the west coast of Africa. By the time Europeans penetrated into the interior outwards coming down from the north it had conquered the indigenous rulers and their people and had destroyed many of their physical ever dancers of their civilization so that the writings of visitors from the 18th century on them were based rather on what they saw after the overthrow of those kingdoms than on of the. Type of civilization which had existed from 700 down to about 15 91 when the Arabs overthrew song Hey the last of those great medieval African kingdoms was slavery in existence in Africa.
This during the course of these kingdoms a slave regime had adjusted in Africa specifically in West Africa for many a year going back of course as far as recorded evidence is available to the time of the Roman and during this period from 700 to the end of the 16th century. Slavery undeniably existed. The difference is however that slavery was a kind of domestic slavery. It involved undoubtedly intertribal warfare under some degree but obviously there was a little slave trading to the Western world. At this point we might explore the reasons for the importation into the new world of slaves from Africa. The Times had been made by North American settlers to enslave Indians. However the Indians were highly susceptible to diseases brought
by the whites to which they had acquired no immunity. Besides they didn't seem to make a fission workers under a plantation regime but deficiency related no doubt to the relative simplicity of the economic background from which they had come. Indians also knew their own trails and forests in a fashion that laid on the gross leaves did not. And it was not always wise to enslave Indians whose kinsman might visit reprisals on the whites. The whites also tried white indentured servants who would go through a period of servitude during which they did heavy labor in forests and fields but white servants could go to law for their rights. They ran away. They had to be replaced when their period of servitude ended. And then they might well buy land and start competing with their former ministers. The tremendous demands of the new world for labor could not in any case be satisfied by white servants so I begin to see why the white man began to look on the negro with the new and special interest.
More interesting sidelights on this subject were furnished us by Dr. John Hope Franklin historian author and chairman of the Department of History at Brooklyn College in New York. I think it ought to be remembered that the first negroes who came to English America were not slaves but were indentured servants. It was the experience that English America had with Negroes that convinced the English Americans that Negroes were quite suitable for enslavement. One fact of course was that of color the fact that the negro was quite different from the white man in color and in physiognomy generally made it possible for him to be set aside and be presumed to be a slave. This would of course obviate any confusion with respect to run away. He's for if persons of the skin of a negro and the
texture of hair of a negro etcetera were found they were presumed to be slaves and could be returned to their masters. Another consideration was the remarkable capacity for adjustment. That the negro demonstrated both in Europe and in particular in the New World. I have said in writing that this capacity or one might term it a resiliency under adverse circumstances emerges in part from the kind of culture out of which he came which was by the way not a backward and underdeveloped culture so much as it was a rather well-developed culture in which loyalty and obedience and adjustment were important considerations. So that when the negro came to the Caribbean and later to mainland America
he reflected these these qualities of adjustment. And although it was a thoroughly undecidable and reprehensible state in which he found himself I can be proved of course easily by the resistance to slavery which he manifested every hand. He nevertheless did not succumb under these conditions but beat back and adjusted and demonstrated that it was possible for a white man to enslave him and for him to survive. There was also another consideration and that is that Europeans were at least in part troubled by the problem of enslaving persons who were within their programme of Christianization and civilization. They regarded large numbers of Asian and
and even more off American persons as as a person who should be brought under the evangelical influence. It did not seem to have the same attitude toward Africa and certainly not in the earlier period. The point is that Europeans seem to felt that Africans were somehow outside the pale that they were not fair subjects too. The question that just so that they could in good conscience Inslee if Negroes and at the same time not feel that they had betrayed their evangelical programs in other words the negro was and slaved in great part for reasons of expediency. A great amount of labor was needed in the New World to extract wealth from the land. Other methods had been tried and didn't work and the negro with his particular cultural
background identifiability and initial exclusion from the religion of the white man. Offered the best available to and at this point would begin to see the emergence of an American image of the negro. The first European nation to engage in the business of selling men was Portugal. Later commercial battles were fought among the Dutch French English and Portuguese for a monopoly control of this lucrative business. In fact it was a Dutch ship that left the first Negro slaves in Jamestown in 16 19. The point we're getting at is that although some Negroes came to North America as an indentured servant as Dr. Franklin Sir's the major experience that the whites had of the negro was in meeting him as a slave with no experience whatever of him in his original African surroundings. In a situation such as this it would be quite easy for a person to forget that the negroes condition had in the first place been imposed upon him and was not a fact of nature. I believe we do often tend to take for granted and somehow natural what we see actually
prevailing. One might even suggest that just because whites saw the negro enslaved large numbers of them would have been incapable of conceiving with any clarity that he might be other than a slave. But at the same time this was certainly not true for world whites. I'm thinking particularly of the Quakers and mennonites who began protesting against the institution of slavery in the 17th century not too long after the first slaves had made their appearance on American soil. In 1776 in fact the friends in Philadelphia finally disowned members who refused to emancipate their slaves. However the interesting point about this is not so much that many Quakers with their ideals felt as they did about slavery among themselves but that even they tended to tolerate and practice slavery for a hundred years or more. And yet this was only one American religious groups attitude in the beginning. We can say full of discussion of the relationship of religion to the negro for a future program at this point. I believe that it suffices to note that even in this early period of the history of the
Negro in America there were conflicting images of him. I don't doubt the argument that conversion would not in any way challenge slave status was ultimately pretty widely accepted and it would seem that this conflict of the images in this case religious images has endured even to the present day. But a lot of other image conflicts having their origin in colonial America. There were arguments from natural law which sometimes became decidedly complicated. Many philosophically inclined thinkers both in colonial America and in the new independent America argued that slavery was in its nature a fit and proper just and right if it made for the happiness of the entire community. Then to be sure they proceeded to argue that on the whole it did make for the happiness of the community. Another line of argument was that it was perfectly right for God to govern the universe in virtue of His perfection and the imperfection of mine just as parents had the right to govern their children because they knew better than their children. So some men
could exercise authority over others because of inequalities among them because of the superior wisdom and excellence of the white man therefore he validly held the author already he did over the negro. Now it's true that something is argued about natural law the law of nature in such a way as to make it come out against slavery. But all of the natural law arguments have a pro-slavery character I've just indicated. The image of the negro that emerges from these arguments inevitably is one that emphasizes that he is less gifted than the white man and less fit to exercise authority. Actually more childlike in the need of complete subordination in the interest of general welfare. And it was mentioned earlier that the image of the early white American image of the early white American had of the negro was influenced by his ignorance of the negroes background. Another factor in the negative image of the negro was that on the slavery of course he couldn't possibly look very good in a number of respects. Legally he was forbidden to learn
to write. And sometimes a master would help him in this despite laws or at least not stand in his way. But given the circumstances he was not likely to be impressively literate. Well along with this idea of the institution of slavery itself profoundly influencing the image of the negro Dr. Franklin pointed out to us that Negroes when given responsible positions under slavery performed very creditably when their motivation was low on the other hand as it often was their productivity suffered and the efficiency of the slave system was reduced. Despite this however the negro of the pre-war salt seems to have produced a fair amount of work and enormous historians maintain that slavery remained a profitable institution until the very end. More images of the negro that we might touch on images certainly connected with the slave period are those of the negro as an immoral individual the negro as a buffoon and a negro as a treacherous creature. First the question of immortality since as a slave the negro was a piece of
property and since nothing like real buttressing of marriages of negroes under slavery by the white man's law existed it was possible as is well known for man to be sold away from wife and from man or wife to be separated from children. If some negroes were consequently apathetic about or indifferent to the marriage bond. And this was understandable. There were nevertheless whites ready to condemn them as not fit for marriage. The negro as before then as a common image appearing for example in American films until quite recently. This is tied in with the entire conception of the negro as a happy carefree simple individual. Actually however the negro discovered early in a slave experience that before Nery paid off a master who was made to laugh was likely to grant favors or indulgences or even lighten the workload of the amusing slave partly as a reward for his being amusing and partly as a reward for the reinforcement of the image of the childlike slave the image of the negro as a treacherous fearsome individual. No doubt had something to do with the
bloody uprisings against the whites which occurred from time to time. The idea or image of the negro as a petty thief against them historically from the slave institution of which it was for example more or less expected that house servants would filch food and goods from the White Man's lot in fact toting which is the name for such petty thievery is still something of an institution in the south. I remember hearing a story not long ago of a present day southern white woman would be right at a servant for not stealing. After all it was expected of or and who did she think she was in any way. The implication is that honesty is a characteristic unbecoming to an evil. In other words it was made just about impossible for the Negro to learn and he was laughed at for his ignorance. He was given no real motivation to work and was called lazy and shiftless for not performing well. Genuine marriage with the safeguards and guarantees that go along with it was placed beyond his reach. And then he was criticized for trying not to care too much and so on.
Yes and the general point here is extremely important. We see the negro kept illiterate on the slavery and then mocked for his ignorance. We see that whites had some expectation that the negro would live up to certain standards of behavior and sexual and marital matters. And then those same whites effectively made it difficult or impossible for him to do so by giving minimum recognition to his marriage bonds and family life. Turning after that upon him and calling him a model I'm callous. Time and again the negro was virtually forced into certain modes of behavior that the whites could easily criticize but behavior that was only to be expected under the circumstances. We haven't all the certainly the familiar tactic of kicking for bleeding the negro having his veins open bleeds whereupon the white man who opens them punishes him for them. We can also certainly see that favorable images of the negro were not encouraged by what has been referred to as the peculiar institution. Given this set of images it would seem that the justification of slavery would not have been too difficult for those who wish to justify it good. Could we go on from here Lou
and follow the development of the southern view of slavery and its impact on the image of the Negro in general of course Southern opinion was in favor of slavery. There seems little doubt that the large slave holders at any rate were on the whole strongly committed to slavery and apparently a good many others who either had very few slaves or none at all were willing to go along with them. It's my understanding that from the end of the colonial period until about 1820 slaveholders while of course they favored slavery were relatively mild about their defense of it. But after 1820 that the French became much more active and aggressive. The famous senator from South Carolina John C. Calhoun was one of the most prominent of those in the period after 1820 who explicitly denied slavery was an evil and a sort of on the contrary that it was a positive good. He asserted that it had proved a great blessing to both of the races that it had been the great study of the Union and our free institutions and further that it had been one of the main sources
of the own bounded prosperity of the whole. Finally from 1830 to 1860 pro-slavery thinking in the South had achieved its perfection. Arguments were polished and completed and the South was stating the pro-slavery case and offer only forthright manner. Would you care about lines of this pro-slavery thought. Well I particularly like to mention the work of just a clock a month which has been reviewed by Jenkins the historian of pro-slavery thought of the old self. Not was a physician from Alabama who was actively engaged in the 1840s and subsequently and supporting the view of the diverse origins of mankind. Not had definitely decided that the negro was of a different species from the white man. If you like a different kind of animal for some years he was more or less alone in his views but he found allies before very long. According to one historian not was writing by 1850. My great object for several years has been to get the world quarreling about Nigger ology and I have at last succeeded and shall sit on the fence now and then join the fight. I don't want
to give the impression that not simply wiped out all opposition to him. He didn't. There were strong the founders of the thesis of the unity of all mankind. But it's true that theories like those of Dr Knot left a lasting impression on the south in one form or another they've certainly survived until the present day. And they constitute a kind of intellectual capital arm which some people draw time and again in periods of crisis when arguments against the negro and against his friends who argue for equality for him or needed. And while these ideas were building in the south. The abolitionists in the north were building up a counterpressure based on opposing points of view not just the north for example Hinton Rohan helper a South Carolinian launched an unreserved attack on the institution of slavery in his book The impending crisis of the South published in 1857 helper is well known at least among scholars while his book one of the profound antagonism in the south. It had a decided impact on the life helper attempted to demonstrate the great superiority of free over slave institutions in a wide
ranging argument in many ways the impending crisis of the South still makes a powerful impact even on the reader of today a hundred years after it was published. One of the outstanding features of the book was the utterly uncompromising attitude toward slavery that help us showed he was also concerned with the non slave holding whites who were in the great majority in the South before the Civil War. Only about a fourth at the most of Southern whites were slaveholders and even a much smaller proportion on more than a few slaves. How what was bitter against the slave holders who he felt had the greater than non slave holding whites through the workings of slavery. To quote him. The Lords of the law show not only absolute monsters of the blacks who are bought and sold and driven about like so many cattle but they are also the articles and arbiters of all non slave holding whites whose freedom is merely nominal and whose unparalleled illiteracy and degradation is purposely and fearlessly perpetuated. But in order to hear the real eloquence with which helper attacked slavery why don't you read this passage from his book world right.
See. In our opinion the causes which have impeded the progress and prosperity of the south which have dwindled our commerce and other similar pursuits into the most contemptible insignificance sunk. A large majority of our people and galling poverty and ignorance rendered a small minority conceited and tyrannical and driven the rest away from their homes and tailed upon us a humiliating dependence on the free States disgraced us in the recesses of our own souls and brought us under reproach in the eyes of all civilized and enlightened nations. May all be traced to one common source and their refined solution in the most hateful and horrible word that was ever incorporated into the vocabulary of human economy slavery. That is pretty strong stuff. But we mustn't allow ourselves to be overwhelmed. This is only one mind speaking and most certainly southern opinion wasn't solidly with him. To summarize very briefly the material with which we've dealt whenever the Negro has received unfavorable treatment the images of him have tended to be
unfavorable and to extend the matter a bit we're really making two points here. One is a kind of behavioristic one namely that our images are conditioned by our actions we treat the negro badly. Hence he doesn't look very good. Hence we regard him as inferior. The second point is this. Once you treat the negro unfavorably in so far as you will have no moral qualms about this you feel compelled to justify the unfavorable treatment when you begin to pile insult on injury something we've noted before. Since you've treated him on favorably in the first place you must prove that he deserved it or that it's good for him or that that or that that is what God climbed since the foundations of the world will aid which brings us full circle back to the mechanisms we've already seen operating in our general discussion of prejudice and discrimination. And with this final point it is necessary for us to break off our discussion of the changing images of the American Negro. Until next week God is again that next week as we continue exploring the changing image
as we discuss the unknown citizens who are. Here. Let me. Ask you Alex. The universe and the program written for the record. Governor Rick. Scott. Got a mass exodus of. The program was produced on record. Right I would you know universal. Under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Shack. Again just for the good national recognition of God God. Is the end E.B. Radio Network.
- Last citizen
- Changing image, part one
- Producing Organization
- Purdue University
- WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program, the first of two parts, discusses the ways in which white views on African Americans have changed over time, as well as how they have persisted.
- Series Description
- A series of programs devoted to exploring the problems facing African-Americans and how these issues impact all Americans.
- Broadcast Date
- Social Issues
- Racism--United States.
- Media type
: Morrow, E. Frederic (Everett Frederic), approximately 1906-1994
Guest: Logan, Rayford Whittingham, 1897-1982
Host: Schneider, Louis
Producer: Richter, E.W.
Producing Organization: Purdue University
Producing Organization: WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-50-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Last citizen; Changing image, part one,” 1959-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 2, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0v89m554.
- MLA: “Last citizen; Changing image, part one.” 1959-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 2, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0v89m554>.
- APA: Last citizen; Changing image, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0v89m554