Daily Archives: February 14, 2020

Advanced course lesson 3 Civil Rights 19th century


advanced course lesson 3


By the dawn of the 20th century the situation of African-Americans in the southern states was grim. They had very few rights. Their situation was only a little better than it had been under slavery.

Some African-Americans in the South were sharecroppers. They worked on plantations for a share of the crop and not for cash. They needed cash to buy essentials. They borrowed money from the plantation owner. This was lent at a high rate of interest. The sharecroppers became bonded labourers.

A person who was of mixed black-white ancestry was classified as black. This was known as the one drop rule. A person with a single drop of African blood was classified as black. A person who was half and half was called a mulatto. Someone who was a quarter black was called a quadroon. A person who was one-eighth black was an octroon. If someone was less black than that he or she was indistinguishable from a fully white person but according to racist theory was still black.

Many states passed Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow meant a black person since a crow is black. These laws segregated the two races in parks, cinemas, restaurants, buses, trains, theatres and even graveyards.

The US had two main political parties. These were the Republicans and the Democrats. The Democrats were much more dominant in the South. In some presidential elections there was the Solid South as in all 11 southern states voting for the Democrat. The Democrats won a few states in the North. The Republicans were stronger in the North which had most of the population.

President U S Grant had made some effort against the KKK in the 1870s. The Enforcement Acts had been passed. But his efforts had been unavailing. The US Army had been patrolling the South in an effort to prevent KKK intimidation of the black community. The US Army was much too small for the task. The KKK had the support of most southern whites.

In 1876 US troops were withdrawn from the southern states all apart from a few army bases.

In the late 19th century black people were disenfranchised in much of the south. Impecunious whites also found themselves off the electoral roll.

Jim Crow laws mandated that black and white children be educated at separate schools. Far less money was allocated per pupil to the black schools. Their teachers were paid less. They often only got second hand textbooks after whites had used them for years.

Black people made progress in education. In the North schools were integrated. Colleges were opened for black people. Some Ivy League universities accepted black applicants. However, black tertiary education participation was much, much lower than that of whites.

Southern newspapers often refused to use Mr, Mrs or Miss in relation to a black person. Whites were wont to refer to a black person as ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ regardless of age.

In 1896 a black man named Homer Plessy boarded a train and sat in the whites only carriage. Mr Ferguson demanded that Mr Plessy move. The dispute went to court. The matter was appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the Plessy v Ferguson case. The judgment was that organisations were permitted to segregate races in public accommodation. However, the standard of accommodation offered to each race had to be of an equal standard. This is known as the separate but equal doctrine.

In 1912 Woodrow Wilson was elected president. President Wilson was from Virginia and believed racism was good. He ordered that black and white be kept apart in government service.

Black people sent to prison were often leased out as cheap labour. Free black people were discriminated in employment. This also happened to Hispanics.

The president invited Booker T Washington to dinner. Some white supremacists made the foulest accusations against Mr Washington.

In 1909 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded. NAACP wanted to abolish discrimination against non whites and stop the crimes committed against black people. NAACP started to use lawsuits in furtherance of its cause.

In the First World War hundreds of thousands of African-Americans served overseas in the US military. They served in Europe. They spent time in white countries and saw whites who were in poverty and homeless. They realised that whites were not always better off than black people. African-Americans also defeated white Germans. The myth of white invincibility was shattered.

After the First World War there was an outbreak of racist violence. Black people were murdered by the dozen in Chicago, Tulsa and other cities. In the North African-Americans sometimes voted Democrat. Democrats in the North tended not to be racists like in the South.

In the 1920s the KKK had millions of members. KKK police officers sometimes directed traffic in Klan robes. KKK was able to swing elections. It was anti Catholic. Al Smith was the Democratic candidate for president. He lost largely due to KKK opposition.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century several million black people left the southern states. They moved north and west. Outside the former CSA there were no Jim Crow laws. Discrimination was less severe.

In 1929 the Great Depression broke out. African-Americans were so poor in many cases that this depression did not make things worse.

The New Deal was intended to solve mass unemployment in the 1930s. It was semi-effective. African-Americans benefited. President Roosevelt banned discrimination by the Federal Government.

In 1941 the United States entered the Second World War. The US military needed every man it could get. Millions of African Americans joined the military. Many volunteered but some were drafted.

The US was fighting against the racist system in Germany and Japan. Some Americans wondered why the US tolerated frank racism on its own soil.

Some Germans were taken prisoner by the US Army. The German Prisoners of War were shipped to the US and held there. The POWs were transported across the United States by train. The Germans were escorted by African-American soldiers. On a train the white crew served meals to the German POWs but refused to serve American soldiers because the soldiers were black!

After the Second World War some people seriously reflected on the scandal of outright racism in the United States. African-American veterans demanded respect.

The GI Bill was passed. This funded higher education for military veterans. For many people third level education was unattainable before this. African-Americans started attending college in significant numbers.

In Smith v Alwight a white primary was banned. That was in 1944. On the edges of the South black people started to gain some traction in politics.

In 1945 Harry Truman became president. Truman issued  executive order 9981. This desegregated the armed forces. Until that time military units were white or black.

Real estate agents were open in trying to keep black people and whites apart even in the North.

In 1954 Mr Brown wanted to send his daughter to the nearest school. It was a white school and she was black. The black school was several miles away. Brown pursued his case against the Board of Education. They struck down the Plessy v Ferguson ruling. The Supreme Court said that schools had to be integrated.

The civil rights movement gathered pace in the 1950s. They used peaceful protest and non violent direct action.


  1. Who took out a legal case against the Board of Education?

2. Which president desegregated the military?

3. What was this executive order called?

4. What was the GI Bill?

5. What is a sharecropper?

6. What is an octroon?

7. What were Jim Crow Laws?

8. What was the KKK?

9. What is the Solid South?

10. Tell the tale of Plessy v Ferguson?

11. What does NAACP stand for?

12. Were African-Americans mistreated? Five marks.




advanced course lesson 2 Civil Rights KKK


advanced course lesson 2


Black people were brought to America as slaves in 1619. English whites had founded a town in Virginia named Jamestown in 1607. English sailors sailed to the coast of West Africa. One African realm would lift the sword against another. The vanquished were taken as slaves. These thralls were then sold into chattel slavery. European sailors and pirates purchased these people. Homo sapiens were treated as animals.

Negrophobic attitudes were justified by the Bible. In Genesis chapter 9 it says that Ham was made a slave and his descendants forever after. The Good Book tells us that he is the grandsire of the people of Africa.

In the United States many black people were held in slavery until 1865. In that year slavery was abolished throughout the United States. It was the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution. The US has a Federal Government in Washington DC. The Federal Government handles defence, foreign affairs and some other issues. Each state has its own government in its state capital. The states fiercely guarded their autonomy.

From 1861-65 Americans fought a civil war. Eleven southern states broke away from the USA. The eleven southern states called themselves the Confederate States of America (CSA). The CSA consisted of those states that had slavery. Many of the whites in the CSA were pro-slavery. They were worried that the US Government would give freedom to African-Americans. Vicious racism was the norm in the southern states.

The CSA was defeated. These states were reintegrated into the United States. Nevertheless many whites in the South were proud of the CSA even though it had only lasted for four years. Many of them were still very anti-black.

The 14th Amendment in 1868 stated that black people were citizens of the United States. A later constitutional amendment said that black men were permitted to vote – that was the 15th Amendment in 1870. No woman was allowed to vote at the time.

After the abolishment of servitude not as much changed as one might hope. Rich whites still ruled the roost. Freedmen sometimes worked for the same person who had owned them before they had freedom.

Black people were elected to some public offices in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. However, white supremacists in the South were determined to deprive African-Americans of their liberty.

The 1865-77 period is called Reconstruction. The US Government faced a dilemma. It wished to achieve reconciliation between North and South. It also wanted to ensure that African-Americans were able to enjoy their rights.

The whites formed the majority in the South. Most whites were racist. Their opinions had not been changed by the abolition of thraldom. Any bid to uphold the liberty of African-Americans would infuriate most Southern whites.

The US Government had to choose. Was it more important to conciliate the South or to guarantee the freedom of the African-Americans? Soon the US Government chose to sacrifice the African-Americans in order to placate whites supremacists.

Southern whites found devious means to prevent African-Americans from asserting their entitlements. The right to vote was controlled by states’ legislatures. Whites formed the majority in all states save South Carolina.

State legislatures passed laws which in effect disbarred African-Americans from casting their ballots or even registering to vote. A state was not allowed to state that African-Americans are not allowed to vote. As they could not be crude they had to be devious. States passed grandfather clauses. This said that a man could only vote if his grandfather had been permitted to vote. No African-American had a grandfather who had been allowed to vote. This indirectly forbade African-Americans from voting. There were literacy tests and tests of constitutional knowledge to qualify for the franchise. These were usually only enforced against black males. In the 1860s almost half the whites in the South were illiterate. Illiteracy amongst black people was higher. This was not owing to lack of intelligence. It was because when they were held in servitude they were not taught. Some black people had been free even before the end of slavery. In some states it was a crime to teach even a free black person to read. A little learning is a dangerous thing. Knowledge is power.

In some states there was an income tax. Only men with an income above a certain level were allowed to vote. As African-Americans were mostly living in abject penury they were banned from voting.

A white terrorist organisation was founded shortly after the end of the Civil War. It was called the Ku Klux Klan. This terrorist outfit had its name because of the Greek word for circle ‘kuklos’. Clan means a very extended family. In Early Modern Scotland a clan had been summoned by burning a cross on a hilltop at night. It signaled that the clan must be gathered because they were going to war. There was no more effective means of immediately sending a message in a time before telegraphs or trains.

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) had members known as Klansmen. The KKK dressed in white robes. They had hoods over their faces so they could not be identified. They rode around at night terrifying African-Americans. They sometimes dressed their horses in white sheets too so the steed could not be identified.

The KKK were dedicated to subjugating the African -American minority. The KKK strove to prevent the black community from having equality.

If a black person was thought to be challenging white mastery then he might be issued a death threat. This could some in the form of a poison pen letter. It might be seeds in the post.

If a black man had the courage to seek to register to vote he would be paid a nighttime visit by the KKK. They would surround his house and put a burning cross outside. If the black man was fortunate this was all that would happen. It was a warning. If he de-registered himself he might hear no more about it. But often a man would be dragged outside the house. The KKK might whip his bare back till it bled freely. They inflicted savage tortures on black people.

Some black men were murdered by the KKK. They would be publicly hanged. This man would have no trial. If he had simply been accused of trying to exercise his rights he would be murdered.

Racist discourse depicted black men as sexually depraved. Many states had laws forbidding marriage between black and white. If a black man had a sexual liaison with a white female then he would probably be murdered by the KKK. This was even if the relationship was entirely consensual. The KKK would say it was rape.

The law of the state usually said it was a capital crime for a black man to rape a white but not for a white to rape a black woman. Black women often worked as servants for white families. They were sometimes raped and the whites almost always got away with it.

If a white was accused of a crime against a black person then the white was almost sure to avoid punishment. In the South all the police were white. All the judges were white. Jurors were chosen from the electoral role which was almost always entirely white.

A white person who was sympathetic to black people would also suffer at the hands of the KKK. The KKK was also against Latino people. Latino means Spanish speaking people. Latinos (or Hispanics) often moved in from Mexico or other countries further south of the USA.

Some Hispanic people had been living in states that became part of the USA in the 19th century. Florida was a Spanish colony. Therefore, there were Hispanic people there before English speaking Americans arrived. New Mexico, California, Texas, Nevada and other states were part of Mexico once.

The KKK was a Christian fundamentalist organisation. It was against alcohol and gambling. It also opposed divorce. The KKK was sabbatarian. This meant it opposed doing trade on Sunday. The KKK enforced all these rules.


  1. When was slavery abolished in the USA?
  2. Which amendment was this?
  3. What was the 14th Amendment?
  4. Where is the capital of the USA?
  5. What is the Federal Government?
  6. What does CSA stand for?
  7. How many states were in the CSA?
  8. What does KKK stand for?
  9. Which year was the 15th Amendment?
  10. What is a grandfather clause?
  11.  How did southern states prevent African Americans from voting? Five marks.
  12.  When was reconstruction?
  13. How did the KKK terrorise African-Americans?
  14. Besides African-Americans which groups did the KKK hate?
  15. Why did the US Government not help African Americans against the KKK?




Advanced course lesson 1 Albert Memorial


advanced course lesson 1


In Hyde Park, London you can find the Albert Memorial.  In 1872 the memorial was built. The said memorial was completed with Prince Albert’s statue being placed there in 1876. It is dedicated to the memory of Prince Albert. The structure stands 54 m tall. It is unusual in having a ciborium over the statue.

His Royal Highness Prince Albert is best known for having being the spouse of Queen Victoria. Albert was eager to promote arts, industry, science and education. He strove for the betterment of his good wife’s subjects.

Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was born in Germany. Naturally his first language was German. Back then Germany was divided into 36 independent states. He was raised in the Christian faith. To be more precise he was brought up in the Protestant denomination.

The first cousin of Prince Albert was Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria was born in the United Kingdom in 1819. Her mother was a German named Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Queen Victoria’s father was Edward the Duke of Kent. Edward was one of the younger sons of King George III. Queen Victoria spoke German as her mother tongue. She was taught English but sometimes made German first language mistakes.

When Queen Victoria was an infant her father died. She was an only child. When she reached the aged of 18 her uncle King William IV died. William IV had no legitimate children. Therefore the crown passed to his niece Victoria.

Not long after the queen ascended the throne it was time for her to look for a husband. She was betrothed to her first cousin Albert. Though the two had an arranged marriage they fell in love with each other. They had a very happy marriage. Their progeny were nine.

Albert was granted the title Prince Consort. His wife was to reign. He was a prince only inasmuch as he was wed to the monarch. He was not a monarch. Consort is another word for spouse. Albert was also given the handle His Royal Highness. This is usually abbreviated to HRH.

Some found Albert supercilious and irritating. He was regarded as a meddler and a smart alec. Germany was more advanced than the British Isles in many fields such as music. But at that time the UK was head in technology.

In 1850 Albert organised the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations. For short it was known as the Great Exhibition. It was not of all nations. Only countries that manufactured things could take part. Germany did not exist as a united country. The Zollverein – a customs union of some German states – existed. It took part. France, the United States, Russia and other lands displayed their wares.

The Great Exhibition Hall was put up in Hyde Park. The hall was made of glass. A journalist dubbed it a Crystal Palace. The name stuck. It was very long and tall. Trees grew in it and birds flew about inside.

The Great Exhibition coincided with the completion of the railway network through most of Great Britain. This enabled millions of people to travel cheaply. Several million came to see the Great Exhibition for the year it was on.

In 1851 the Crystal Palace was dismantled. It was moved piece by piece to Sydenham which is also in London but south of the River Thames. The Crystal Palace was reassembled. The Crystal Palace stood there until it was burnt down in 1936. Nevertheless the name Crystal Palace stuck to the area. A football team in Sydenham is known as Crystal Palace.

The proceeds of the Great Exhibition were used to purchase land in an area called South Kensington. This was beside Hyde Park where the exhibition had been staged. South Kensington was a countryside area until that time. The farmland was turned over to educational and cultural usage. The Royal Albert Concert Hall, Imperial College London, The Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal College of Music, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum all lie on this land. South Kensington is sometimes known as Albertopolis as in Albert City in honour of the prince.

The prince was punctilious in his duties. He was also a fastidious father. His eldest son was not diligent in his filial duties. Albert was disappointed with Edward VII – his eldest boy. Albert chided and chastised his offspring. Edward VII was dissolute and not serious. He was a hard drinking man, gluttonous, a gambler and a womaniser. This sot did not mend his ways.

In 1861 the American Civil War erupted. Eleven states broke away from the United States. These eleven states formed the Confederate States of America (CSA). The CSA was not accepted by the USA. The United States fought to force the CSA back into the Union.

The CSA purchased a warship from a British dockyard. The United States Government vehemently protested to London. The British Government was minded to riposte rudely. The US believes in the right to bear arms. If the CSA is part of the United States then this right to carry weapons must apply in the CSA also. Americans held that anyone had the right to carry any weapon. There was no limit to the type of weapon or where it was purchased or where it was manufactured.

Prince Albert intervened before a discourteous telegram was sent to the USA. He insisted that it was toned down. The milder message was duly dispatched. Some say he averted war. Only weeks later he died. He was 42.

Upon the death of Albert his wife went into mourning. This means she wore all black. The bereavement affected her profoundly. Wearing mourning for a year was the norm for the death of a spouse.

Victoria did not attend any parties whilst in mourning. This was considered apposite. However, after a year had passed she remained maudlin. Her lack of public appearance irked the public. It was seen to be excessively self-indulgent. Her wallowing in grief was regarded as mawkish. Most people suffered early bereavements back then. She became known was the Widow of Windsor. Some people became anti-monarchists.

Some years later Victoria took a shine to a Scottish servant of hers named John Brown. Was this platonic or romantic? This manservant received inexplicable privileges. People quipped that she was Mrs Brown – as though she had wed her servant.

Many places in the British Isles are named in honour of Prince Albert. There are places such as Albert Square, Albert Street, Albert Bridge and so forth. Alberta in Canada is named after him.

Someone had the idea of building a memorial. It was funded by public subscription.

There is a small Albert Memorial in Manchester.

Sir George Gilbert Scott designed the Albert Memorial. He was the most distinguished architect of the epoch. The style is Gothic Revival.

There are beast statues at the four corners of the Albert Memorial. These are a buffalo for British North America, an elephant for India, a camel for the Middle East and a bull for Europe. There is a relief sculpture depicting many famous men.

The memorial was built by many artists. It has mosaics on it. There are statues representing anatomy, chemistry, rhetoric and medicine.

By the 1990s the Memorial was in a parlous condition. It underwent renovation. Her Britannic Majesty reopened it.

The memorial is on the site of the Great Exhibition. The trees laid out around it show the dimensions of the Crystal Palace. The memorial faces Royal Albert Hall.

Albert Hall (as it is commonly called) is the site of royal command performances to raise money for charity. It was the location for patriotic concerts in wartime. The Royal Festival of Remembrance is held there the night before Remembrance Sunday. It is also the venue for the proms concerts in the summer.

There are tours of the Memorial on the first Sunday of the month.


  1. In which city is the Albert Memorial?
  2. Which park is it in?
  3. In which land was Albert born?
  4. What was his surname?
  5. Whom did he wed?
  6. What was Queen Victoria’s mother’s maiden name?
  7. Who was the father of Queen Victoria?
  8. In which year was the Albert Memorial built?
  9.  When was the statute of Albert placed there?
  10.  When did William IV die?
  11. Did Queen Victoria speak German?
  12. How many children did Albert have?
  13. What were his passions?
  14. Why did some dislike Albert?
  15. What title was he given?
  16. What was his surname?
  17. What does HRH stand for?
  18.  What was the name of his eldest son?
  19. Why did Albert clash with this son?
  20. In which year did Albert die?
  21. How was he related to his wife?
  22.  How old was he at his death?
  23. Who designed the Albert Memorial?
  24. Why do some appreciate Albert? Five marks?
  25. What is your opinion? Five marks.