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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

The More Things Change, the More They Stay Sam

Race Making and Post-Reconstruction Racial Memory
Anthony L. Brown
University of Texas at Austin
Keffrelyn D. Brown
University of Texas at Austin
Explore the
context of race and curriculum for African Americans during post-Reconstruction
and the post-civil rights era.

The growth of the abolitionist movement in the 1800s helped to prompt
an unyielding arsenal of images about African Americans (Drescher,
1990). The use of science and theology supported the normative ideological
belief that African Americans were bred for slavery and incapable
of citizenship (Fredrickson, 1988). From the mid-1800s to the late 1900s,
a persistent and increasing set of ideas surfaced about the uneducable
African American. As Fredrickson (1988) noted, science and theology
played a significant role in circulating ideas about enslavement and inferiority.

These were often connected to a scientific reality housed in
either the biological composition of the Black body or the theological
defenses that placed people of African descent in a “natural” state of
enslavement. These kinds of discourses existed in every facet of society,
producing racial images that assigned powerful meanings of Blackness.

However, as S. A. Brown (1933) noted, popular culture also played an
important role in shaping the public imagination about Black people.
It was in the context of popular culture that authors were given great
flexibility to produce erroneous fictions about Black potentialities, politics,
psychology, and beauty.

Messages In This Thread

The More Things Change, the More They Stay Sam
Re: The More Things Change, the More They Stay Sam

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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