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“….We form a spoke in the human wheel, and it is necessary that we should understand our dependence on the different parts, and their on us, in order to perform our part with propriety.” This excerpt from the first Negro newsletter was written by John Russwurm and made a bold statement to how unparalleled the Negro community is to America. Portraying the many changes the Negro Community has come through, life for the new Negro was advanced but nowhere near luxurious. Written in 1957, John Hope Franklin was born in Oklahoma. He graduated from Fisk University in 1935. He received his doctorate from Harvard and soon served as Legal Defense for the NAACP. Now walking the legacy of distinguished African Americans, Franklin has taught at many historically black colleges and universities, thus demonstrating his attributes as a scholar and well versed leader in the Negro community.
Throughout history many authors and generations of scribes have altered the events that shaped the past of a people. The Negro in particular, is a hard people to define. Many stories or two sided. They are simple and leave out so much that went on behind the scenes. Described by Franklin as slavery or freedom, right and wrong, and Democracy and its denial, the history of the Negro helped shape America to its present day prestige. In the early days of Negro writing it was simply just a black voice against the white collard Caucasians’.
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Whites published many degrading article and stories during these times to explain the Negro dilemma. Affirming through scientific facts that blacks had an inbred nature to run brought about a stereotype and prejudice that still is relevant today. Also whites used such prejudice to say the Negro did not play a significant role in their freedom. Not only were Negros childish but in fact better off in bondage. All of these many sources led to a lack in education. But not on just the Negro community, all communities colored or not, lacked the basic truths of how America was built and the role Negros played in its makings. The first Negro newsletter was published in 1827 and John Russwurm said it first, “We wish to plead for our cause.” Everyone had an input saying what Blacks encountered and how we should just be happy. But the voice of the Negro was never heard for its own. We as a people wanted our voice to be heard and listened to. With these dramatic changes coming forth many who had spoke negatively about the Negro came forth with truths. Negros had fought hard in the Civil War, and despite white’s unwillingness to let it out, during both World Wars, blacks played a vital role.
Had it not been for the advancements of such men like William C. Neil and George W. Williams, Dr. Carter G. Woodson who founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History would not have had such inspiration to do so. Woodson’s goal was to not only restore Negro History and the true events that took place, but also make it a separate piece of American History that holds its own prominence. These works that Woodson had made were so great that any disputes that came to remove the Negro from history were unfathomed. Second class citizenship moved to first class and the influence of history could no longer be evaluated. This New Negro showed America’s potential and the fight this Negro people had.
“It is to be hoped that neither this great lesson nor this great inspiration will be lost in the years that lie ahead.”
John Hope Franklin
John Hope Franklin did not really have to argue in his publication of The New Negro. He defined a problem that needed to be faced and reconstructed it so not only others could see growth but African Americans would know their history. Franklin was very educated and obviously knew how to articulate words to those that felt blacks were not able to do so. His words strengthen his community and help set a foundation to what Negro Heritage and History truly meant. Because he was a Defendant of the NAACP and is as prestige as W. E. B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and others I believe his resources were as accurate as can be. He himself lived the experience and had overcome many of the struggles he wrote about. Dealing with the subject of Negros and white America during this particular time many would think that prejudice and bias would take place. Franklin did not do so at all. In his Letter he mentions the views of both whites and Negros, he also explains why some of these opinions come into being. Then gave his view as to how the Negro could change their situation. He effectively changes the outlook of the Negro and replaced a lost legacy back to its rightful place in American History. I thought I knew a great deal about the many struggles and advancements people of color had faced during these times, but the information Franklin gave deepened my outlook as to why Negros were so motivated and what were the causes of the Negro revolution. Many times I find myself focusing on all the prejudices and the way blacks were treated but after reading Franklin’s newsletter I see now that through education and patients true growth will come.