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Throughout the history of blacks in America there have been periods that could be called civil rights movements Though brief these spurts offered guidance and a good background for crafting techniques and strategies to the leaders and organizers of Americas modern Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s These spurts also lay the foundation that made the modern Civil Rights Movement conceivable much less possible The rights secured by these original historical moments of social mindedness--limited though they were--made it possible for blacks in 1950s America to amplify and expand the fight for complete equality Previous to the 1950s Civil Rights movement the longest sustained period of black struggle occurred around the turn of the century at the close of the once- promising Reconstruction era which instead of reducing or overcoming institutionalized racial tension had the opposite result By the late nineteenth century the rights of blacks granted just thirty-five years earlier with the 13th 14th and 15th Amendments were already being eroded and hardened into the Jim Crow system In response grew two related but radically different responses from the black community The two major figures of this struggle were Booker T Washington and WEB DuBois Born into slavery Booker T Washington advocated a policy of industrial practical education for blacks and founded Tuskegee Institute in 1881 He was a highly influential figure among whites and the dominant figure in black America until his death in 1915 Washington was a moderate on the question of segregation In his famous Atlanta Compromise speech on September 18 1895 he stated in all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress Though many contemporary blacks see him as an Uncle Tom willing to sell out the interests of blacks for white approval Washington fought hard to secure a place for blacks in America that would render them economically
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