Searching for an identity in this wilderness: A comparative history of Black counter-identity movements in twentieth century America
Nelson, Eddie J.
AdvisorWeems, Robert E.
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This thesis examines three African American counter identity organizations that contributed distinct responses to the overt displays of White racism during the early twentieth century. Moreover, this thesis explores the historical context of African American identity and how it may influence the social movements of modern day. By utilizing comparative analysis as a tool to cross examine the Moorish Science Temple of America, the UNIA, and the Nation of Islam, considering their successes, failures, organizational structures, and message to Blacks of the inter-war period, this thesis concludes that there are two essential takeaways when considering these groups’ responses. First, the issue of Black identity was as relevant in early twentieth century America as it is in modern day. Second, these groups distinct responses to White racism during their time, paired with the manner in which they dealt with the issue of Black identity, not only contributes greatly to historiography; but may also serve as an important historical case study to the modern day Black social movements that are currently responding to the ongoing issue of White racism.
Thesis (M.A.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of History