By Karen Ferguson
Whilst Franklin Roosevelt was once elected president in 1932, Atlanta had the South's biggest inhabitants of college-educated African american citizens. The dictates of Jim Crow intended that those women and men have been virtually fullyyt excluded from public existence, yet as Karen Ferguson demonstrates, Roosevelt's New Deal opened exceptional possibilities for black Atlantans suffering to accomplish complete citizenship.
Black reformers, frequently operating inside of federal corporations as social staff and directors, observed the inclusion of African american citizens in New Deal social welfare courses as an opportunity to organize black Atlantans to take their rightful position within the political and social mainstream. additionally they labored to construct a constituency they can mobilize for civil rights, within the procedure facilitating a shift from elite reform to the mass mobilization that marked the postwar black freedom fight.
Although those reformers' efforts have been a necessary prelude to civil rights activism, Ferguson argues that additionally they had lasting adverse repercussions, embedded as they have been within the politics of respectability. through trying to impose bourgeois behavioral criteria at the black group, elite reformers stratified it into these they decided deserving to take part in federal social welfare courses and people they consigned to stay on the margins of civic life.
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Additional info for Black Politics in New Deal Atlanta (The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture)
20 Estelle Clemmons, whose family was among the migrants to Perry’s development, remembered what it meant to move from the crowded conditions of the east side to this new spacious neighborhood, close to the park and the high school. The relocation provided her striving parents with a Life at the Margins tangible sense of upward mobility, a feeling that ‘‘we were going somewhere . . 21 While west side migrants were attracted by the high school and park, and Perry’s neat suburban bungalows with their indoor plumbing and electricity, they also moved from the east side to be close to Atlanta’s most powerful, inﬂuential, and independent black institution, the Atlanta University Center, composed in of Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, along with Atlanta University.
In Jim Crow Atlanta, they successfully represented themselves as ‘‘race’’ proxies to whites, the only legitimate representatives of the black community. The legacy of their triumphant incorporation continues to be felt today and is an important key to understanding the schisms that continue to split Atlanta’s black community. This book traces the origins of this divide back to the Roosevelt era, when the politics of respectability began to have material consequences for black residents, as they were divided into those deserving and undeserving of full citizenship.
By , Atlanta had a well-established network of elite African Americans imbued with this reform ethos. In , the leaders of this group comprised some of the best-educated and most inﬂuential African Americans in the city, and indeed the nation. They formed the interchangeable executives of Atlanta’s most prominent black social work and civil rights agencies. Leading the black reform elite were a number of key ﬁgures, including: Lugenia Burns Hope, who was also a local leader; Forrester B.