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Title:Founded by Chance/sustained by Courage: Black Power, Class, and Dependency in Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915
Author(s):Cha-Jua, Sundiata Keita
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Walker, J.E.K.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, Black
Abstract:This project reconstructs and analyzes the residues of the social and political history of African-Americans' attempt in BrookIyn, Illinois to translate self-government into a model of autonomous achievement. Brooklyn's history can be divided into four periods.
The first encompasses the years, 1830-1869, during which African-Americans in Illinois were governed by the notorious "Black Laws," which were in effect Illinois' slave code In 1870 Black men in Illinois gained political rights when the state legislature abolished the Black Laws and ratified the Fifteenth Amendment.
This set the platform for Brooklyn's second historical period, 1870-1886. This era also had two stages. The first was extremely brief. From 1870 until July of 1873 Brooklyn was incorporated and municipal politics, did not exist. The second stage of this period begins after the town was incorporated as a village and ends in 1886 when Afro-Americans seized control of the local government.
The third period, the era of Black Power, 1886 to 1898 was dominated by racial political warfare, as African-Americans and Euro-Americans struggled for dominance of the local state apparatus. John Evans, Brooklyn's first African-American mayor, mobilized the Black community to wrest control of local government from the white minority.
The fourth period, 1898-1915, was dominated by political instability and economic decay. By 1910 the effects of dependent development had begun Brooklyn taking more and more of the characteristics of a slum. This period also saw the emergence of a violent political culture in which contestants for public office resorted to extra-legal means. Politics degenerated into armed clashes which in 1915 precipitated the St. Clair County Sheriff's suspension of local government and declaration of martial law.
Brooklyn's development, like the formation of Black towns in general, flowed from African-Americans' aspirations for autonomy and self-development. Black town construction was a component of a more comprehensive nationalist compound in Afro-American ideology and praxis: The construction of Black communities during the post-reconstruction era and the early 1900s is the most concrete historical manifestation of African-American nationalism and thus represents the highest level of Black nationalist theory and praxis.
Issue Date:1993
Description:513 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9328991
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1993

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