Slings And Arrows

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Slings and Arrows The social climate from the 1930s to the 1950s was at best tempestuous for the African American community. The depression accounted for 26 percent unemployment of black males and propagated the "Don't buy when you can't work" protests. The unrest was certainly not limited to the job market though. In 1934, the Scottsboro trials created a political and social storm out of crime that never actually occurred. True exhibitions of race relations in the South, the Scottsboro trials were a struggle for justice that produced both executioners and martyrs. The following year, Joe Louis exploded onto the boxing scene, creating a black hero in a racist era. His achievements are often overshadowed by veritable athletic tycoons like Michael Jordan; however, he played an essential role in the awakening of whites and the resurrection of the spirit of blacks that must be appreciated in historical context. In a dramatic move, A.

Philip Randolph called for a march on Washington in 1941. Although his proposal never materialized, he planted a seed that would blossom years later. By 1942, Race riots became a source of fear, especially in Harlem, Detroit, and Mobile. Despite some strides to subdue blatant racism, such as the executive order to integrate the armed forces in 1949, the Governors of South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Virginia compiled their Southern Manifesto, a declaration that the federal government had no power to prohibit segregation in the South. Clearly, this period was one of desperation and distress for African Americans and one of aggravation and anxiety for those who supported segregation. One African American who weathered this social climate was Maya Angelou. Born in 1928, Angelou endured a firestorm of prejudice and progress. In her recent publication, Even the Stars Look Lonesome, Angelou comments, "The strength of the...