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Name_____________________________________________________ Date____________


2. TYPE OF DOCUMENT (10 pts) (Check one):

[ ] Letter [ ] Speech [ ] Other (Describe):

[ ] Report [ ] Newspaper


(Month, day, and year, if given)

4. (a) AUTHOR OF DOCUMENT (Who originally wrote it?) (5 pts)


(c) EDITOR OF DOCUMENT (if applicable) (5 pts)


(Try to be specific)

6. DOCUMENT INFORMATION (There are many possible ways to answer A-E.)

Please write your answers to Part 6 in complete sentences, double-space your responses, and use quotation marks and page or paragraph numbers whenever you quote directly.

A. List three important things the author stated and explain why in your own words: (15 pts)




B. Why did the author write this document? (10 pts)

C. What evidence in the document helps you know why it was written? Quote from the document. (10 pts)

D. In your own words, explain two things that the document tells you about American life at the time it was written. (10 pts)



E. Write a question to the author that is left unanswered by the document. (10 pts)


If any cropper shall fail to feed his team Satur­
day nights, all day Sunday and all the rest of the
week, morning/noon, and night, for every time he
so fails he must pay me five cents.

No corn nor cotton stalks must be burned, but
must be cut down, cut up and plowed in. Nothing
must be burned off the land except when it is impos­
sible to plow it in.

Every cropper must be responsible for all gear
and farming implements placed in his hands, and
if not returned must be paid for unless it is worn
out by use.

Croppers must sow & plow in oats and haul
them to the crib, but must have no part of them.
Nothing to be sold from their crops, nor fodder nor
corn to be carried out of the fields until my rent is
all paid, and all amounts they owe me and for
which I am responsible are paid in full.

I am to gin2 & pack all the cotton and charge
every cropper an eighteenth of his part, the crop-

2 The process of removing seeds from cotton.

per to furnish his part of the bagging, ties, &

The saie of every cropper’s part of the cotton to be
made by me when and where I choose to sell, and
after deducting all they owe me and all sums that I
may be responsiblefor on their accounts, to pay them
their half of the net proceeds. Work of every descrip­
tion, particularly the work on fences and ditches, to
be done to my satisfaction, and must be done over
until I am satisfied that it is done as it should be ….


1. Does the sharecrop arrangement seem fair to all
parties? Explain.

2. What alternative did landless farmers have?
3. Why was the landowner so determined to pre­

vent croppers from planting cotton and other
staple crops in their “home” patches?

FRoM Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Augustus Straker alluded to the growing social separation of the races in the South
during the 1880s. Practices varied from county to county and state to state, but by
the 1890s the trend was clear: white southerners were determined to enf01″ce a
racially segregated society. A Louisiana ordinance of 1890 required that railroads
.”provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races.” A
group of New Orleans blacks resolved to test the constitutionality of the law. One
of them, Homer Plessy, sat in a whites only section of a railcar in 1892 and was
arrested. Four years later the U.S. Supreme Court heard his case when Plessy
appealed a ruling by District Judge John H. Ferguson. Seven judges upheld Plessy’s
conviction and only one, John Marshall Harlan, son of a slaveholder from Kentucky,
dissented. Harlan put forth a powerful defense of equal rights.

From Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).

Justice Henry Brown for the majority: This case
turns upon the constitutionality of an act of the
general assembly of the state of Louisiana, passed
in 1890, providing for separate railway carriages for
the white and colored races ….

The constitutionality of this act is attacked
upon the ground that it conflicts both with the 13th
Amendment of the Constitution, abolishing slavery;
and the 14th Amendment, which prohibits certain
restrictive legislation on the part of the states.


1. Tha\ it does not conflict with the 13th Amend­
ment, which abolished slavery and involuntary ser­
vitude, except as a punishment for crime, is too
clear for argument. … Indeed, we do not under­
stand that the 13th Amendment is strenuously
relied upon by the plaintiff ….

The object of the (14th) amendment was undoubt­
edly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races
before the law, but in the nature of things it could not
have been intended to abolish distinctions based
upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished
from political, equality or a commingling of the two
races upon terms unsatisfactory to either. Laws p~r­
mitting, and even requiring their separation in places
where they are liable to be brought into contact do
not necessarily imply the inferiority of either race to
the other, and have been generally, if not universally,
recognized as within the competency of the state leg­
islatures in the exercise of their police power . …

We consider the underlying fallacy of the plain­
tiff’s argument to consist in the assumption that
the enforced separation of the two races st~mps the
colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so,
it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but
solely because the colored race chooses to put that
construction upon it. …

The argument also assumes that social preju­
dice may be overcome by legislation, and that
equal rights cannot be secured to the Negro except
by an enforced commingling of the two races. We
cannot accept this proposition. If the two races
are to meet on terms of social equality, it must be
the result of natural affinities, a mutual appreciation
of each other’s merits and a voluntary consent of
individuals . . · .. Legislation is powerless to eradicate
racial instincts or to abolish distinctions based upon
physical differences, and the attempt to do so can
only result in accentuating the difficulties of the
present situation. If the civil and political right of
both races be equal, one cannot be inferior to the
other civilly or politically. If one race be inferior to
the other socially, the Constitution of the United
States cannot put them upon the same plane.

Justice John Harlan, dissenting: , , . In respect of
civil rights, common to all citizens, the Constitu-

PRoM Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) 41

tion of the United States does not, I think, permit
any public authority to know the race of those enti­
tled to be protected in the enjoyment of such
rights …. I deny that any legislative body or judi­
cial tribunal may have regard to the race of citizens
when the civil rights of those citizens are involved.
Indeed such legislation as that here in question is
inconsistent not only with that equality of rights
which pertains to’ citizenship, national and state,
but with the personal liberty enjoyed by everyone

. within the United States. . . . ‘
The white race deems itself to be the dominant

race in this country. And so it is, in prestige, in
achievements, in education, in wealth and power.
So, I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time, if
it remains true to its great heritage and holds fast
to the principles of constitutional liberty. Our Con­
stitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tol­
erates classes among citizens. In respect to civil
rights, all· citizens are equal before the law ….

The destinies of the two races in this country
are indissolubly linked together, and the interests
ofboth require that the common government of all
shall not permit the seeds of race hate to be planted
under the sanction oflaw. What can more certainly
arouse race hate, what more certainly create and
perpetuate a feeling of distrust between these races,
than state enactments which in fact proceed on the
ground that colored citizens are so inferior and
degraded that they cannot be allowed to sit in pub­
lic coaches occupied by white citizens? That, as all
will admit, is the real meaning of such legislation
as was enacted in Louisiana . …

State enactments regulating the enjoyment of
civil rights, upon the basis of race, and cunningly
devised to defeat legitimate results of the war,1

under the pretense of recognizing equality of
rights, can have no other result than to render per­
manent pe.ace impossible, and keep alive a conflict
of races, the continuance.;: of which must do harm to
all concerned.

We boast of the freedom enjoyed by our people
above all other peoples. But it.is difficult to reconcile
that boast with a state of the law which, practically,

1The Civil War.


puts the brand of servitude and degradation upon a
large class of our fellow citiz~ns, our equals before
the law. The thin disguise of “equal” accommoda­
tions for passengers in railroad coaches will not mis­
lead anyone, or atonefor the wrong this day done ….

I am of opinion thaf the state of Louisiana is
inconsistent with the personal liberty of citizens,
white and black, in that state, and hostile to both
the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the
United States. If laws of like character should be
enacted in the several states ofthe Union, the effect
would be in the highest degree mischievous ….

I am constrained to withhold my assent from
the opinion and judgment of the majority.


1. The majority opinion drew a sharp distinction
betweenpolitical and social equality. How could
the justices maintain suCh a distinction?

2. The majority opinion also insisted that segrega­
tion was a symbol of racial inferiority/superior­
ity only if African Americans chose to view it as
such. Assess the logic of this argument.

3. Which of Harlan’s arguments would be used by
later jurists to dismantle segregation? Explain.


The Atlanta Compromise (1895)

How best to improve the plight of blacks in the so-called New South generated
intense debate among African American leaders. Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)
emerged as the most eloquent advocate of what his critics labeled the “accommoda­
tionist” perspective. Born a slave in Virginia, Washington was educated at Hampton
Institute, which provided blacks with vocational training. In 1881 Washington cre­
ated a similar school in Alabama, the Tuskegee Institute. Its success catapulted
Washington into the national spotlight. In 1895 he was invited to deliver a speech at
the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta. His remarks seemed to condone social segre­
gation. Journalists later labeled Washington;s proposal the ”Atlanta Compromise.”

From Booker T. Washington, The Story ojMy Life and Work (Cincinnati, OH: W. H. Fergu­
son Company, 1900), pp. 165-71. Reprinted in Up from Slavery: 7he Autobiography of
Booker T. Washington {Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1959), pp. 153-58.

One-third of the population of the South is of the
Negro race. No enterprise seeking the material,
civil, or moral welfare of this section can convey to
you, Mr. President and Directors, the sentiment of
the masses of my race when I say that in no way
have the value and manhood of the American
Negro been more fittingly and generously recog­
nized than by the managers of this magnificent

Exposition at every stage of its progress. It is a rec­
ognition that will do more to cement the friendship
of the two races than any occurrence since the
dawn of our freedom.

Not only this, but the opportunity here afforded
will awaken among us a new era of industrial pro­
gress. Ignorant and inexperienced, it is not strange
that in the first years of our new life we began at the

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