Social Attitudes and Mores of the South, 1900s to 1950s

Essay by mjhs_asmsHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2004

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The Southern way of thinking for many whites remained constant from the 1900s to 1950s. There was racial intolerance and discrimination. Southern tradition was embedded into everyone, black and white. The causes for these prejudiced positions stemmed mainly from fear and many cared over from the time of slavery. The blacks on the other hand, were split. Some agreed with the complacent doctrine of Booker T. Washington, while others pushed for the social and political equality stressed by W.E.B. Du Bois. Whites expressed these attitudes by lynching and insinuating race riots. Blacks countered by, for example, creating their own "country" called Mound Bayou where blacks lived and prospered independently from whites. For many people, Southern tradition was a way of life, and was not to be questioned.

Racial Attitudes and Thinking

Many of the racial attitudes were instilled at a young age into blacks and whites, and for the most part remain unquestioned until the Civil Rights Movement.

It was unspoken, yet all knew. These southern traditions were the authority of the South. Thomas Bailey's racial creed consisted of the main points of southern tradition. The notion that the white race is superior to the black race is the cornerstone of the foundation. Negroes were seen as inferior biologically, psychologically, culturally, and historically. The lowest white man is still higher than the highest black man. There was to be no social or political equality for blacks. There was to be no intermixing of the races for it would contaminate the Teutonic people. The South was white man's country and there was no room for blacks. The blacks man shall always serve the white man, as he did in slavery and as he does now in sharecropping. The Negro's highest accolade is the "status of peasantry". Southerners did not...