W.E.B. DuBois

The statement “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line” which was made by Dubois was a direct reference to the problems which the African Americans were going through. The post-slavery period for the people of color was full of challenges stemming from the laws and long-held perceptions which were carried over from the dark ages of colonialism. The vice affected all corners of the country. The color line problem was perpetuated by individuals from different quarters of the American society. The institutions such as the judiciary were no exception either, in the rulings they made, prejudice against the African Americans was quite evident. The Jim Crow bill never made things easier either. The local authorities saw to it that there was a divide between the people of color and the whites. The color line was essentially the determining factor on the privileges and rights in the society.

One of the most notable instances during this period was the case which was filled by Plessy who was protesting the manner in which the rail company decided not to allow boarding the first-class section of the train in spite of the fact that he had bought a ticket for it. In their ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the railway authorities to deny her the first class section privilege in the train (Keene, 434). This turn of events reflected a long-running situation which had ensured that the African American were allocated different roads to drive their cars, to have their own schools away from the whites. Generally, the black and the whites never met in any way during the various activities which were required of one to undertake. The main assertion by the promoters of this policy was that equality was being promoted through separation- the whites were built their own schools and the African Americans their own. However, this was not the case as the African American facilities were comparatively underfunded when assessed against the white facilities. There was no equality as such (Du, Bois W. E. B, 67).

The other sector in which the color line was quite evident was in the labor sector. Dubois observed that the African American craftsmen were highly limited in the progress they could make as far as their profession was concerned. It was generally a restriction which had been put in place that required that they could not proceed beyond a certain level. This was be upheld in spite of the progress and the skills which the people of color may have developed over their counterparts the white. Therefore, it effectively curtailed their developments life. Apart from the above-highlighted issue, the education sector represented another area where the color line was quite visible. In this area, those of African descent were not given equal opportunities as far as education is concerned. This was both implemented by limiting the number of schools which were built for them and the type of education which was provided. Generally, the African American received a watered-down version of education unlike their counterparts the whites. It was meant to limit their progress as far as professional development and knowledge progression and acquisition is concerned (Du, Bois W. E. B., 118)

To sum it up, the color line was the underlining aspect upon which the citizens were either denied their rights or granted.

 

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