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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 Negro's Place in American Life at the Present Day

The Negro's Place in American Life at the Present Day

(p.92) 9 The Negro's Place in American Life at the Present Day
T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American Agitator

Shawn Leigh Alexander

University Press of Florida

This chapter presents the essay “The Negro's Place in American Life at the Present Day.” Despite Fortune's usual themes of race unity, race pride, and agitation for political and civil rights, his message was essentially one of gradualism, not the immediate demand of rights of his earlier years and his later Negro World editorials. In the end, Fortune optimistically looked at the future, arguing that being “mindful, therefore, of the Negro's two hundred and forty-five years of slave education and unrequited toil, and of his thirty years of partial freedom and less than partial opportunity, who shall say that his place in American life at the present day is not all that should be reasonably expected of him.” In essence, he was trying to win the respect of the white audience in this essay. Fortune explained how far the race has come and recognized that there was still some work to do, but at the same time he made the point that such a condition did not justify abandonment of the principles of the Constitution by white America.

Keywords:   Negro, African American community, civil rights, race unity, gradualism, race pride, whites

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