New Negro Movement
- James Smalls
Philosophical position and cultural movement in which the goal was to promote a public image of African Americans as industrious, urbane, independent, distinct and apart from the subservient and illiterate “Old Negro” of the rural South. The term and the concept evolved over the years to become important to the African American scene during the first three decades of the 20th century. The New Negro was self-sufficient, intellectually sophisticated, creative, knowledgeable and proud of his/her racial heritage. The expression “New Negro” first appeared during the Reconstruction era following the Civil War and was generally used to describe a person of African descent who was no longer willing to comply with the dominant white culture. During the late 1800s, those who promoted Booker T. Washington’s proposals for economic advancement of African Americans often used the phrase “New Negro.” However, the influential black author and sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois interpreted Washington’s philosophy as one of black accommodation of white racism. In his ...