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

Decent Essays
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…show more content…
They "realized that Jim Crow was not inevitable and the South did not have to be that way." (Wormser 162) The irony of WWII was that the black soldiers were fighting for democracy, yet were ostracized by their own "democratic" country.

There were stereotypes placed on and myths about blacks. The most frequently given reason of lynchings was the idea that black men are sexual beasts and want to rape white women. For most of the lynchings, rape was the given cause. In general, it was a way of keeping blacks in their place. In advertisings, blacks were depicted as the "happy darky" and "Uncle Toms" such as Aunt Jemima.

Not all Southerners were completely unsympathetic to the black struggle, but many beliefs weren 't much better. Many saw blacks as the "white man 's burden" and treated them with paternalism and noblesse oblige. It was patronizing to blacks and done mainly in politics to gain black voting support. Eleanor Roosevelt, however, was a true supporter in the campaign for equality. She fought for anti-lynching laws and spoke out publicly against racial prejudice. Women 's organizations also banned together to speak out against lynching to defuse the idea that the white female needs protection from black men.

Foundation for Racial Attitudes

There are only a few reasons why these attitudes have developed, but are all very strong. Fear is the broadest reason and is the foundation for most of the southern traditions. The "big brother" complex, that the South has with
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