thumbnail of The negro American; Why Study Negro History
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The theme that has gone through Negro history it has been this theme of freedom quality of America standing up and living up to the bright promises of the Declaration of Independence. Then there's the essential American thing. There was no theme in Negro life that is not a theme in American life because the Negro is a market too. He is completely authentic Benjamin that liberals distinguish understorey and that negro his are not the two groups of that type not unlike schools in a series of talkers 8:07 underneath America that our national motto the Colobus Noonan suggests that out of many states we form one nation. But it also suggests that out of many different racial strains we form a new nation and we are in essence the louis had a mix a nation of nations. Now if that be the case we may ask why should we spend an afternoon or two or three or four afternoons on the negro. There are many other racial components you
have all brought gifts to America making America a composite. Why then should we direct our special attention to the negro. Now all our groups feel that their history has not been properly emphasized and to some extent of course that is true. But when we come down to the negro I think in no other group you would have to agree you have our racial beliefs about the past shaped our present conduct so that in the case of the negro as a no other component group in American life. What people have thought about the negro what they have thought about his role in American history has shaped their behavior toward him. Their attitude toward their treatment and hints of that belief about the path of the Negro is distorted. It is operated to the disadvantage of the negro such as it has
operated to the disadvantage of no other group in American life. And therefore there is that great justification for a reassessment of our grasp of the role historically of the Negro Americans. Now Moreover it's worth noticing something about the negro because there is a story there to tell. Now. The story has been late and being told for two reasons that we may briefly mention one is that traditionally when we thought about the negro we thought about a problem area almost exclusively until very recently. If we looked in the average book in the social studies and the social science even and we turned to the index and look underneath grow there we would see in parentheses it would say the Slate For three
crimes or three don't think went on urban on rest or even the violence in the street. In other words we would be invited to see everything except the negro and therefore we would get the impression that the only time we meet the Negro history if you have a problem he is a liability and a marker because the only context in which we've come across that in those areas in which he is a problem. So that so much of our history has been a history of the negro as a problem created all and this is an image which on a new perspective on Negro History is attempting to correct. Not the other bias is simply a bias by omission. There have been many missing pages in the history of our country. One of the books for example that we have on the sheet is a book on the negro houseboy.
Now until two or three years ago we had no idea that there were Negroes in the westward movement who would have dreamt that there were five thousand negro cowboys who would have been that there were a negro pony express rider who would have been the Deadwood Dick who won a great prize in 1876 on July the 4th for a mock up with a negro we just couldn't believe that Negroes were in the West. In fact even the one wise guy has said that if Hollywood get around to showing Negro college boy the script will read that the Indians will win when we move into Negro history we have sometimes puzzled almost sounded. We believe we're dealing with a historical underworld because all of this material we've never come across before. The traditional books have not had this material at all and
therefore a bias by omission has categorized the negro role to a greater extent than any other group ethnic religious and that we've made and that is why I feel that there is a justification for a revitalized look. At the role of the Negro in our history. Now just very briefly do suggest the areas in which this nation has a carrot if we take and I'll just mention these very hastily sort of an overview in American culture of the negro Kamya Barrios we should advocate and what he brought with him with what other people brought with them and out of the fusion we get this new man the mark of many of the negro contributions that are in the common call we don't realize them as such. We don't stop and say this is a negro of a modern life or American history or the American character because
they sent him in the Common Core. They have begun begun become typically American and therefore we don't I filleted them and say this is the negro this portion of the river of my mind that found. Not in the realm of college if we just noticed in the popular culture of music if we think for example I'll just mention the great spiritual the great musicologist of the 18th century the 19th century Craven 1887 wrote a book called Afro market folk songs in which you took five hundred twenty seven Negro spirituals and pray thin aliment back to West Africa showing that the same thing the rhythm of the thing musical structure. This came from West Africa. Not all of these jewels of course came to work. Typically a market long with a song and then after slavery days were over. We get the music the bird into the field of entertainment and we get
rag time at the turn of the century music with a ragged time to it the same kind of music as the spiritual except it had a secular means. In 1915 this kind of music was rebaptized the jazz jazz was a typical American idiom. Paul Whiteman gives a concert in 1924 jazz emerges as a national playing a negro contribution which is part of a market contribution in fact the first of the great blue with the St. Louis Blues by WC Handy and I think we are told that many people in Europe believe that this is on the national anthem at a fellow identified with America because the blue of the face the music where you take a spiritual thing to bring it into effect and then bring a new note a blue note something went wrong. My manager Bethany we know the general theme in the area of music just in the past. If we take in the dance the same thing the dance
moves of a monarch of a dance with a new world a fugitive who is with the African rock with them. The Europeans brought with them. And therefore if we take in modern needs we meet the which cold water is popularized and begin the beginning which is a fusion of Afro French element. If we take the Afro Spanish aliments we get a great number of dead is the rumba the tango the tango comes from an African word Tang Ghana and the famous Congo you can see in the word Congo would sound the word Congo meaning that this was a dance which the Africans brought with them from from Africa if you will is without Imus which just Spaniards brought with them. And out of this huge great typically Latin American that in the fan has begun the same thing of course would be true in Britain in Brazil if we went to Brazil and notice the national dance of Brazil of the samba the summer of course is taken from the Zola from Portuguese
Angola where these people came over they fuse their dances with a Portuguese dance it out of this we get a typical Latin American that the them. Now we could take in the field of folk law and we could take in the field of folk tales we could take in the field of craft and show them a fusion in which there is an African aliment presence in which an African elephant emerges about around a man to create something that is typically a new word and we don't stop to say that the negro did this or this was the portion of the great heritage. Now if we move into the whole matter of a maybe the day we don't mention the negro as a labor base but one of the great commercial revolutions one of the two great economic revolutions of modern times the commercial revolution and the Industrial Revolution the Negro is at the base of both of those as we have seen very shortly one we have seen that they had obviously the mom who was a labor base by the time I've struck. A new form of
capitalism in college you know this is a Negro labor base. I need out there that in the ad about here in the grove the field labor is also I need to say that many of the invention of labor saving devices some of the major inventions in the sugary finding industry in 1846 nobbut really Yanna invent the new surely finding process. But what you pay for and I think the need for our generation he was founded by the sugar refined of the world a negro jet solider in 1883 gives us a shoe lasting machine one of the tremendous breakthroughs in that particular end so that in the field of invention too they have been a list of notable Negro and that is we don't stop and say this is the negro did this or that. We just accept that we just sometimes mention the name but the sense is that the Common Core too. Not if we take a military contribution from the very beginning of our history in colonial times. Whether the labor issue of whether the shortage of men. You need to fight the
Spaniards the French. You begin to turn to negroes even though many of them are indentured servants and slaves. We're going to meet very briefly today the role of the negro in the American Revolution. We may we have coming and one of the treatments also to the military contribution of the negro in the Civil War when he got on the wall and yet there were sixty eight thousand negroes who died there were nearly one tenth of Negroes at the end of the war. Sometimes people say the negro was free in the Civil War without doing anything sitting by playing the banjo waiting for somebody to free and we get that concept from Gone With The Wind and other things. But when we look at the actual record the military participation per 100000 negroes in World War One of which two regiments won the war they over 800000 in World War Two and now of course everybody knows in Vietnam when Negroes perhaps feel they are overrepresented over integrated with 22 percent. Twenty
two point six and six month period of all the casualties fatalities in Vietnam have been me. So the military contributions from the very beginning of our history this centers at the Common Core of mining just by way of summary. The thing that makes America think different Old World nations of course is our belief in democracy our belief in equality and freedom. This is a distinctive thing and i'm our all of a Great was the thought on this current step of independence of freedom in the War of 1812 ignoring our own Declaration of Independence of all revolutions freedom of the seas in the Civil War Lincoln says the purpose of the war to give to mark a new birth of freedom in World War One to make the world safe for democracy. We're awat two of the four freedoms we have been freed embarrassed of the world. Now there's been no group in American history who so consistently get into this note of freedom of equality of America being
promised. This is a new way different from the old world in the concept of man's dignity man's essentially quality man's independence. The outgoing of the human spirit. This has been something the negroes from the very beginning Banneker right. Jefferson very early you know wrote the Declaration of Independence. You have played the abolitionists of the 19th century. The people in the 20th century that we have very briefly noted. So that if there's been one theme that has gone through Negro history it has been this freedom problem of America standing up and living up to the bright promises of the Declaration of Independence. This is the essential American dream. There was no life that is not a theme in American life because the Negro is a market too. He is completely integrated into American history and therefore sometimes people think we are studying something off. Off the mainstream as a seventh generation
American. We have been listening to Professor Benjamin Quarles speaking on the Negro American. A series of broadcast was produced for a station by the Department of Education or broadcasting for the Detroit Public Schools executive producer Frederick E. Schiller technical direction Clifford where. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
The negro American
Why Study Negro History
Producing Organization
Detroit Public Schools
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-vm42wr90).
Series Description
Lecture series by Prof. Benjamin Quarles of Morgan State College, Baltimore, made in late 1967 in Detroit Public Schools. The Negro American series covers one topic each week. This prog.: Why Study Negro History?
Race and Ethnicity
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: WDTR
Producing Organization: Detroit Public Schools
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-30-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:15:18
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The negro American; Why Study Negro History,” 1968-09-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “The negro American; Why Study Negro History.” 1968-09-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: The negro American; Why Study Negro History. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from