Independent Black Voices from the Late 19th Century: Black Populists and the Struggle Against the Southern Democracy

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Omar H. Ali, Professor & Dean, Lloyd International Honors College (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Fueled by religious and secular conviction, grounded by political reality, and limited by grinding poverty, African Americans in the 1880s would not allow Democratic Party rule to go unchallenged following the collapse of Reconstruction. Between 1886 and 1898 southern African Americans most of whom had been born into slavery, gained their freedom, but were being stripped of their newfound rights as citizens organized an independent movement for economic and political reform: Black Populism. Black farmers, sharecroppers, and agrarian laborers collectively produced a new generation of leaders. Together they carried out a range of tactics through grassroots organizations formed out of the networks established by the churches and benevolent associations at the heart of the African American community. At its height, the independent movement comprised over one million men and women through its two principal organizations, the Colored Farmers Alliance and the People's Party, giving mass political expression to the demands of ordinary African Americans across the southern political landscape.

Additional Information

Ali, Omar. "Independent Black Voices from the late 19th century: Black Populists and the Struggle Against the Southern Democracy," Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Spring 2005): 4-18.
Language: English
Date: 2005
History, 19th century, African Americans, American politics, Discrimination, Black political participation, Reconstruction

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