African American History
5 May 2015
The Allusion of Opportunity
Racism and ethnic discrimination have been used as powerful weapons throughout history. Today, our world has come a long way from the past, especially since the early 20th century. In the mid-summer of 1910 a man named W.E.B Du Bois, a scholar, teacher, historian and spokesman for the world's "darker races," founded a publication called The Crisis. This was the official publication of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and attacked lynching and all forms of discrimination. This new magazine had about 1,000 readers its first year and then quickly jumped to about 100,000 readers within the next eight years. By
1922, Du Bois was on his 25th volume and was still as popular as ever. Even though not everyone would buy it, many due towards race purposes, everyone still knew what the magazine brought to peoples lives, which was insight and truth. The idea of discrimination is pursued throughout every issue and in volume 25’s No. 1 and No. 2 articles, the idea of opportunity and race is discussed. Race always brought problems to the lives of colored people. But, with racism, there also came opportunity. People fought for freedom and opportunities in our world. But, not all the opportunity was promised as much seemed as almost an allusion. The people of color fought for their rights and freedom, yet many times their ambitions got in the way of their reality and they had to face the consequences. Throughout the two articles, Du Bois discussed the
Burke 2 themes of opportunity, or lack of it, and race and how the two, being very closely linked, lead to giving people lives that were hard to live.
What discrimination took away from colored people were the many opportunities that were in their futures, such as jobs and education. Being someone of color, one would always be looked down upon by the white population. They were rarely hired for jobs and if they were hired, the job wouldn’t be very good. The black population usually had their own areas of town where they lived, relaxed, explored, and worked. The area seemed almost segregated from the white population. In each newspaper articles, there are many ads for job opportunities available for the colored population. On the back of the first page of November 1922’s issue is an ad for another lighthouse to help chart Negro business into the right channel. Petersburg’s first colored bank was created and in addition to this bank, it also gave employment to hundreds of young women and men. It was seen as a Servant to the People.1 Finding jobs was very difficult but with a little help from the magazine, it became a little easier by being able to view many opportunities available. People didn’t believe that the Negro race was one with brains and a bright future.
That’s where the whites went wrong. Negro artists achieved their own exhibit, which was displayed at the Boston Public Library and the collection consisted of books, prints, manuscripts, and pictures that truly grabbed the attention of the public’s eye. African Americans are better than just slave work and punishment; they are truly talented but go unnoticed. As stated in the crisis, “It shows that from a body that a very few years ago were slaves and so considered by the
1 W.E.B. Du Bois, A record of the Darker Races, The Crisis vol 25: no 1 (Nov., 1922), 2.
Burke 3 world, there have come men and women who have done those things, which cannot be disregarded, which must be respected and above all make for the good of the commonwealth.”2
The Negro race created their own opportunities for a job while being