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T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American AgitatorA Collection of Writings, 1880-1928$
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Shawn Leigh Alexander

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032320

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032320.001.0001

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The Civil Rights Decision

The Civil Rights Decision

(p.15) 3 The Civil Rights Decision
T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American Agitator

Shawn Leigh Alexander

University Press of Florida

On October 16, 1883, the Supreme Court ruled the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional. Although the Act was never fully enforced, it protected all Americans, regardless of race, in their access to public accommodations and facilities such as restaurants, theaters, and trains and other public transportation and protected their right to serve on juries. This chapter presents Fortune's first editorial on the subject, which captures the feeling of much of the African American community whom he claimed felt as though they “had been baptized in ice water” and told they were “aliens in their own land.” The editorial also represents the beginning of Fortune's frustration with the political choices of the African American community and his push for independent politics.

Keywords:   editorials, Civil Rights Act, African Americans, public accommodations, independent politics, racial discrimination, civil rights

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