The Quest for Citizenship

The Quest for Citizenship: African American and Native American Education in Kansas, 1880-1935

KIM CARY WARREN
Copyright Date: 2010
DOI: 10.5149/9780807899441_warren
Pages: 248
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9780807899441_warren
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  • Book Info
    The Quest for Citizenship
    Book Description:

    InThe Quest for Citizenship, Kim Cary Warren examines the formation of African American and Native American citizenship, belonging, and identity in the United States by comparing educational experiences in Kansas between 1880 and 1935. Warren focuses her study on Kansas, thought by many to be the quintessential free state, not only because it was home to sizable populations of Indian groups and former slaves, but also because of its unique history of conflict over freedom during the antebellum period.After the Civil War, white reformers opened segregated schools, ultimately reinforcing the very racial hierarchies that they claimed to challenge. To resist the effects of these reformers' actions, African Americans developed strategies that emphasized inclusion and integration, while autonomy and bicultural identities provided the focal point for Native Americans' understanding of what it meant to be an American. Warren argues that these approaches to defining American citizenship served as ideological precursors to the Indian rights and civil rights movements.This comparative history of two nonwhite races provides a revealing analysis of the intersection of education, social control, and resistance, and the formation and meaning of identity for minority groups in America.

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0497-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807899441_warren.4

    In 1944, G. B. Buster, a longtime African American teacher, gave a college commencement speech imploring churches, community organizations, and government leaders to sound a “clarion call” that would finally solve the largest social problem in the United States—racial tension between whites and people of color. If members of the larger society were to continue fostering “race prejudice, discrimination, arrogance, insult, and exploitation of minority groups,” the entire country would feel the harm. Therefore, he charged his audience, comprised mostly of African Americans, to work together with whites in pressing for the enforcement of equal civil rights for all...

  5. Part I ORIGINS, IDEOLOGY, AND RACIAL HIERARCHIES
    • Chapter One REFORMERS “FRIENDS OF THE INDIANS” AND “FRIENDS OF THE NEGROES”
      (pp. 19-44)
      DOI: 10.5149/9780807899441_warren.5

      In 1879, when Elizabeth Comstock first heard about the exodus, a mass migration of African Americans from southern states to Kansas, she immediately started a collection to provide for their relief. A white abolitionist before the Civil War, Comstock had developed sympathy for blacks in earlier decades, and she also gained exceptional skill in gathering support and money for African American causes. After traveling throughout the United States and her native England for two years, Comstock had collected $60,000 in cash and goods for the Kansas Freedmen’s Relief Association (KFRA), an organization which had extended the relief efforts that the...

    • Chapter Two CURRICULUM ACQUIRING THE HABITS OF CITIZENSHIP
      (pp. 45-70)
      DOI: 10.5149/9780807899441_warren.6

      In 1896, Reverend Charles Monroe Sheldon wrote a series of sermons that he delivered to his congregation at the Central Congregational Church in Topeka. Each sermon challenged his congregants to consider their actions toward each other and those less fortunate. Sheldon wanted to be clear about the challenge that he had posed to his church members, so he stated, “I will put my proposition very plainly, perhaps bluntly.” He then asked for volunteers who would pledge “earnestly and honestly” for the next year to take action only after asking themselves a single question: “What would Jesus do?”¹

      A year later,...

  6. Part II STRATEGIES OF NEGOTIATION
    • Chapter Three STUDENTS NATIVE AMERICAN NEGOTIATIONS AT HASKELL INSTITUTE
      (pp. 73-96)
      DOI: 10.5149/9780807899441_warren.7

      On a Thursday evening in October 1919, Native American students at Haskell Institute gathered together for an evening program. An unpopular matron, known as Mrs. Douglas, had ordered male and female students to sit separately during the presentation. Many boys protested Douglas’s demand by refusing to walk into the school’s chapel. Consequently, the school disciplinarian sent them to their rooms for a study period. Just when the program speaker started to walk onto the stage, all of the lights in the building suddenly turned off. At first, school officials thought that a fuse had blown, but when Assistant Superintendent C....

    • Chapter Four PARENTS AFRICAN AMERICAN INTEGRATION ON THE “PLATEAU OF UNCERTAINTY”
      (pp. 97-120)
      DOI: 10.5149/9780807899441_warren.8

      When Gordon Parks, the noted photographer, director, and writer, received the Kansan of the Year award in 1985 from the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas, the president of the organization, Clarence Rupp, read one of Parks’s poems that reflected his childhood days in Fort Scott. The poem, “Kansas Land,” started with his fond memories of youth:

      I would miss this Kansas land that I was leaving.

      Wide Prairie filled with green and cornstalk;

      the flowering apple,

      Tall elms and oaks beside glinting streams,

      rivers rolling quiet in long summers of sleepy days

      for fishing, for swimming, for catching crawdad...

  7. Part III NEW LEADERS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
    • Chapter Five TEACHERS FROM INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION TO AFRICAN AMERICAN RACE PRIDE
      (pp. 123-144)
      DOI: 10.5149/9780807899441_warren.9

      In 1905, when Reverend William Tecumseh Vernon addressed the Kansas Day Club, he was the first African American to do so. The title of his speech, “A Plea for Suspension of Judgment,” implied that Vernon intended to ask the audience of white Kansans to ease their criticism of his African American brethren, and he started by stating, “The cause of my people is my cause, their struggles my struggles.” The rest of his speech, however, did not detail the plight of blacks in hopes of gaining pity or understanding. Instead, Vernon used this platform, along with many of his other...

    • Chapter Six IDENTITY NATIVE AMERICAN BICULTURALISM
      (pp. 145-174)
      DOI: 10.5149/9780807899441_warren.10

      The local newspapers in and around Lawrence predicted that five to ten thousand Native Americans would gather at Haskell Institute in October 1926 for the boarding school’s homecoming celebration and dedication of its new football stadium. Months before anyone arrived to pitch canvas tents and tepees on the forty-acre plot of land that the school had set aside for the gathering, journalists, students, and Haskell Institute officials anticipated something more significant than a homecoming celebration. They believed that the events surrounding the dedication would represent the largest assembly of Indians in peacetime and the most diverse meeting of Native Americans...

  8. Conclusion UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES THE NEXT GENERATION
    (pp. 175-180)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807899441_warren.11

    On 6 April 1955, Charles Scott received a Western Union telegram at his Topeka law office from lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who was in New York. Marshall wrote, “Have just received information on the latest action Topeka School Board completely abolishing all segregation September this year. Please advise.” The telegram noted Marshall’s continued concern for the enforcement of theBrowncase that he and Scott had successfully helped to argue a year earlier. It was the 1954 decision that made segregation in public places unconstitutional, but Charles Scott, along with his brother John Scott and colleague Charles Bledsoe, had first argued...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 181-210)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 211-224)
  11. Index
    (pp. 225-229)