After Reconstruction, Southern leaders pushed hard to attract indus- try . States offered large inducements and cheap labor to investors to de- velop the steel, lumber, tobacco, and textile industries . Yet in 1900 the re- gion’s percentage of the nation’s in- dustrial base remained about what it had been in 1860 . Moreover, the price of this drive for industrializa- tion was high: Disease and child labor proliferated in Southern mill towns . Thirty years after the Civil War, the South was still poor, over-




whelmingly agrarian, and economi- cally dependent . Moreover, its race relations reflected not just the legacy of slavery, but what was emerging as the central theme of its history — a determination to enforce white su- premacy at any cost .

Intransigent white Southerners found ways to assert state control to maintain white dominance . Sev- eral Supreme Court decisions also bolstered their efforts by upholding traditional Southern views of the ap- propriate balance between national and state power .

In 1873 the Supreme Court found that the 14th Amendment (citi- zenship rights not to be abridged) conferred no new privileges or im- munities to protect African Amer- icans from state power . In 1883, furthermore, it ruled that the 14th Amendment did not prevent indi- viduals, as opposed to states, from practicing discrimination . And in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Court found that “separate but equal” public accommodations for Afri- can Americans, such as trains and restaurants, did not violate their rights . Soon the principle of segre- gation by race extended into every area of Southern life, from railroads to restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and schools . Moreover, any area of life that was not segregated by law was segregated by custom and practice . Further curtailment of the right to vote followed . Periodic lynchings by mobs underscored the region’s determination to subjugate its Afri- can-American population .

Faced with pervasive discrimina- tion, many African Americans fol- lowed Booker T . Washington, who counseled them to focus on modest economic goals and to accept tem- porary social discrimination . Oth- ers, led by the African-American intellectual W .E .B . DuBois, wanted to challenge segregation through political action . But with both ma- jor parties uninterested in the is- sue and scientific theory of the time generally accepting black inferior- ity, calls for racial justice attracted little support .

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