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AMOD: Using Black Conservatism to show the Difference between African American History and African American Studies as a Course of Study!

Controversial Content
Added: Saturday, February 4th 2023 at 4:12pm by AMODPOVW
Category: News & Issues
Related Tags: history


As stated in my previous Post, this is not a Post for everyone.  We understand that not everyone has the emotional maturity to discuss these topics in a proper manner. It is not an attempt on my part to convince you of anything, but rather an effort on my part to inform the misinformed and to enlighten some people who might not have the necessary background to form an honest and informed opinion about some of the most important topics of our time.  So with that being said, let's begin!

In the recent debate about the AP African American Studies Course offered by the College Board there was some concern that the Board had bent to Political Pressure and had changed some of the Modules in the Curriculum, dropping several that were considered Liberal and adding a Section on Black Conservatism.  I found this change to be rather interesting as the outrage about the change highlights all the things I find wrong with the teaching of African American Studies as opposed to African American History.  As stated in my previous Post, AA History tends to be "Fact" based and normally is supported by either Primary or Secondary Sources!  AA Studies on the other hand tends to be more "Philosophical" in nature and relies on Sources that tend to be subjective.  So a topic like Black Conservatism might be submitted to a group of students as something a AP Teacher might believe is true based upon their individualview point, when in fact Black Conservatism is nothing new and has a well established foundation in African American History, and if presented incorrectly could end up providing the student with a false view of this rather important subject.  So let's take a moment and discuss Black Conservatism as it has traditionally been viewed in the Black Community minus todays Media Interpetation!

First, let's provide you with a simple traditional definition of Black Conservatism:

Black conservatism is a political and social philosophy rooted in communities of African descent that aligns largely with the conservative ideology around the world. Black conservatives emphasize traditionalism, patriotism, self-sufficiency, and strong cultural and social conservatism within the context of the black church. In the United States it is often, but not exclusively, associated with the Republican Party.

The first thing about this definition that should jump out to you is that this "Philosophy" is often, but NOT exclusively associated with the Republican Party.  Which means that Black Conservatism in its true sense has nothing to do with Political Parties.  As a matter of fact if you look closely at this definition you will find that the true foundation for Black Conservatism is found in the Black Church!

Compare this if you will to the definition of Black Liberalism:

Black liberalism, also known as African-American liberalism, is a political and social philosophy within the United States of America's African-American community that aligns with the concept of Modern liberalism which is a political and moral philosophy based on the rights of the individual, liberty, consent of the governed, political equality and equality before the law.  Black Liberalism is frequently cited as the dominant ideology of modern times as it relates to Black America.

Now I need you to take a moment and look very closely and see if you can tell the difference between these two approaches.  Turn off your political lens and look only at it through a Philosopical Lens...if you do, you will see that there is very little difference between a Black Conservative and a Black Liberal and the primary difference will deal with the subject of Equality and how this subject should be approached!

In African American History this is called the Great Debate and it has existed since before the end of Reconstruction!  It's key context can be found in the discussion of Traditionalism and Self Sufficiency verus Opportunity and Access!!  The primary leaders in this debate were Booker T. Washington and WEB Dubois...both of which by the way were members of the Republican Party at the time! (smile)

The great Booker T Washington vs W.E.B Du Bois debate was over which road would lead to equality: economic independence or fighting for civil rights. Washington believed Blacks having economic independence and creating wealth for themselves would lead to equality while Du Bois argued that fighting for civil rights was the right course to take.

Washington in this Debate was considered the "Conservative" because he believed that the old Traditional way for Blacks to improve and advance in American Society was the better road to travel and actually was supported and sponsored by many White Liberals of the time.  Dubois believed that access to true wealth came by advocating for a seat at the table...and equal share based upon the rights guaranteed under the Constitution and it was because of this stance Dubois was considered the "Liberal" in this debate.

Washington was not concerned about "Intergration", as a matter of fact he gave a famous Speech...his "Five Fingers" Speech where he declared "that we could be as separate as the fingers on the hand, but as united as the fist in a common cause"!  Dubois meanwhile argued that such an approach as Washington's approach may have gained the Negro in America a solid foothold in society, but it would not carry them much further than where they were at the moment.  Washington was self educated while Dubois was the first Black to Graduate from Harvard.  Dubois believed that fighting for equality was the only way for the Negro in America to achieve equality.

There were two great writings that informed this debate, Washington's "Up from Slavery", and Dubois's "The Souls of Black Folks"!  Although these two never debated face to face their conflicting views of how the American Negro should approach his fate continues even until today with many people reassessing Washington's approach to the issue.  Take this quote from a recent publication in 2020:

After Washington’s passing, Du Bois became the leading black intellectual and brought his ideas to the forefront of the civil rights movement. He believed putting all efforts into building wealth without having civil rights guaranteed to Blacks was a dangerous approach.

Du Bois was not alone in believing this. Booker T. Washington was viewed as a sell out for decades until a re-examination of his life and teachings lead many to believe that he had a reasonable approach for the way things were at the time.

Washington’s push for putting almost all efforts into building strong Black communities away from white communities is an idea a lot of Black leaders view as smart now. His push for Black ownership is the basis for many successful black businesses that kept many communities afloat in the South.

Of course, it is easy to see where Du Bois’ influence has lead. The Civil Rights Movement was built on the back of teachings and ideas spread by the likes of W.E.B Du Bois.

This Conservative/Traditionalist approach to Black Equality preached by Washington was actually at the core of some of the Black Nationalist and Separatist Movements like the Black Panthers and Black Muslims (Nation of Islam).  As a matter of fact Louis Farrakhan's Philosophy on these matters differs very little from that of Booker T Washington!  So yes....Louis Farrakhan is very much a Black Conservative in the Traditional sense of the word.

You would do the discussion of this subject great harm to water it down to debates about Affirmative Action and Abortion or try to fit it into the same model that one uses to discuss Political Conservatism and Liberalism...I hope in this brief discussion I have explained to you that a discussion of Black Conservatism is so much more.  To try to discuss this subject without delving deep in the "Great Debate" and then bringing it forward would do the students a great injustice!

Which is why African American Studies without a Historical Backdrop is a bad idea!

User Comments

With the fact that many young Black people are unaware of much of the history, bearing in mind that many will not be returning to church, what is the method to be used in teaching actual history of the various ideas and philosophical concepts wrapped up in the Black people that lived that history.  I am skeptical that the politicans will let focused studies of the history of one particular ethnicity, especially in the current climate.

Let me go on record as saying I have NEVER bought the melting pot image of America.  I was introduced to the "stew pot" version long ago and have preferred every since.  The idea is that this country is made up of all sorts of people, all metaphorically, with their own flavor, and that this together creates the beauty of the United States.

But how does one understand the "back to Africa" idea that was sponsored by Prince Hall which is somewhat similar to what could be seen as the seperatism of Booker T Washington.  Both of those persons saw the advantage of the Black community being seperate and basically away from influence and involvement with the White community and had valid reasons for that opinion for their day.

The other approach which was to integrate and become part of seems to be the approach that Frederick Douglas (yes, I read a tiny bit about him while reading about Prince Hall) and Dubois.  That appoach is consistent with the reluctance many people to leave America where they had lived and worked all their lives for another country.

I found myself surprised at some of my own reactions to the controversy.  s


The idea is that this country is made up of all sorts of people, all metaphorically, with their own flavor


Now you are starting to get it!  Notice the depth and detail of the Controversy!!

Blacks are by nature more conservative than people realize if you a very close look at the culture....and I am not talking about Hollywood or the Social Media Footprint.  A quick look at the history will tell you that Political Parties do not explain the full story.  Example....Blacks shifted to the Democratic Pary during the 60's because of JFK and LBJ and their support of the Civil Rights Movement (Dubois's Concepts).  But they did not shift in their Social or Family Values...they remained by and large Conservative.

Intergration became the watchword, but their were large numbers of the Black Community who did not want to Intergrate, they wanted an end to separate but equal!  They wanted an end to Segregation!!  Equal Rights under the Law!  If you give the White School $1 Million give the Black School $1 Million.  

As far as the Back to Africa Movement...again Hall and others believed that they would never be treated as equals and therefore it would be best to go where the shadow of bigotry would not follow or hold them back.  Washington believed that separation could be acheived here without the fuss of transplanting yourself.  He held up Tuskegee Institute and other HBCU's as examples of what could be acheived.  You are correct that Douglas and Dubois after him believed that the Consitution once amended offered the Negro the best chance to become all he could be.

Now let me add something else into this complex mix!  Booker T Washington was dead by the time the Tulsa Massacre took place.  Imagine the effect that event had on the Great Debate!  Here is the classic example of what Washington said was possible.  Total Black Independence and success separate from the White Community.  Then suddenly without warning....its gone.  It served to increase participation in the Dubois approach and lead to increased participation in Marcus Garvey type Movements.  

Marcus garvey picked up to a degree where Washington left off!

Just one other side note...to appease our buddy....during all of this it is important to understand that the Republican Party was still the dominant Political Party for African Americans.  There were two primary reasons for this....one was because the Democratic Party was the Party of the South...the Party of the klan!  The second was that Democratic Presidents weren't making any moves on Civil Rights front.  In reality the Republican Political Party was a "Liberal Party as it relates to Social Issues" and that meant that Equality and Acceptance its moto.  

But the idea that Traditional Social and Basic Values deeply rooted in the Church made staying with that Political Party easy.  Here you see why Richard Allen and others who grew the Black Church were important...the Church meant everything and the Church was by its nature Socially Conservative!

The Tulsa event would have had to be a game changing in a lot of people's minds. But there have also been less obviously dramatic events that have impacted this area of understanding as well.  In New Orleans, for example, there was Clairborne St which was a corridor of Black businesses.  There were homes and successfuls around and on that street.

However, with progress, there came the highway system, and a system was to be put into the city to connect to the rest of the country in a more convenient faster way.  Since the interstate system needed to go though the downtown area, and Clairborne was one of the possible locations, instead of disrupting Bourbon St and the French Quarter, they busted up the Black community, with the major affected being the businesses along that street.

The result was the interstate hwy often going over the very houses and apartments of the Black community, the community split in half physically, and the city along that avenue being pawn shots, bars and very few larger businesses.

If this happened in New Orleans, and an actuale racial riot happened in Tulsa, I imagine other situations happened as well.  So it is like the nation i saying to the Black community "you can not escape us" cutting off the chance for independente thriving at least in the original locations.

So all the Black has is the hope that equality will be available by political action, with limited success.


But here is where it gets complicated, because the "Nation" is not saying that!!  Certain people within the "Nation" said it at specific times.  And guess what, it was not restricted to people of Color.  The Irish had their moments like this.  The Jews definitely had their moments and situations like that! The Chinese.....I can go on and on.  The problem comes in how the Black Community decided to respond to it.

Again those with Conservative Values in the Black Community always tended to respond one way and those with Liberal Values in the Black Community another, that was until the the 60's then something changed!

I have struggled with this interaction....Let me clarify, because I have confused the "two sides"...but I think it was the conservatives that wanted to build a seperate power structure.  If so, then I have trouble understanding how that worked in practices.

It worked in Tusla until it didn't anymore because the mob rioted and destroyed the area billed as Black Wall Street, the government or the people appears to have ever compensated by the vast loss so Black Wall Street, while an important part of history is just that ....history.

The same with the district here in New Orleans.  That area of Black owned businesses is pretty much reduced to pawn shots and small carry out restaurants, although I believe it may be coming back somewhat.

I don't know about the Chinese and how they recovered, but the Irish recovered because they are also Europeans and the prejudice gradually melted away.

I would think that a mixture of the two would be what has to truly work.  Both the civil rights struggle and the interior educatione BOTH need to be done.  At least that is what I think.  

SFTL you are getting it!  It was after the Post WWI riots in places like Tulsa and East St Louis that the Justice and Equality side started to game steam.  Again, prior to the War the Washington or Conservative side still held sway.  I will give you another example of what was considered Self Help or Self Suffficiency or Traditionalism....that was becoming part of the Military.  A Military Career was deemed another way of pulling ups self up.  As a result you had the 9th/10th Cavalry and the 24th/25th Infantry Regiments (All Black) that were considered ways to lift ones self up. So Military Service was a simple mans way of progressing.

After the War many of these Service Men came home with newly acquired skills and a sense of the War obtained while in France.  Black Veterans received the same amount of disrespect that White Veterans received, so again this became another smack in the face to the Conservatives.  In the meantime the Dubois side (Liberals) started organizing and marchinf for Equality and Justice.  Organizations like the Niagria Movement (NAACP) were formed at Dubois's suggestion and protest and Marches were conducted.  These marches were joined by the Washington side and into the Mid 1930's both sides joined forces with the hopes of acheiving something during the Roosevelt New Deal era!  But then came WWII!!

If you get a chance watch "Descendant" on Netfliix--watched it last night   

Descendant 2022 | Maturity Rating:PG | 1h 49m |  Descendants of the enslaved Africans on an illegal ship that arrived in Alabama in 1860 seek justice and healing when the craft's remains are discovered.

I will check it out!

That cycle does make 'blacks' pawns. And part of their collective pawnliness is referring to them as blacks!

MC which cycle do you refer to?

Hmm, that Comment was a response to something I read within this post and its commentary.

Anyhow, I refer to the cycle of segretion-poverty-incarceration...other items could be placed within that which would properly be represented by a loop.

Here's one representation of the "cycle of poverty":

Cycle of Poverty - Assignment Point

I understand!!

But it should be noted that the Original Black Conservative or Washingtonian in this discussion would say that anyone who fell into this cycle did so as a result of his own doing, and if he remained there it was his falt.  They themselves believed that they were living breathing examples of "Cycle Breakers".   Where the Dubois or Black Liberal would say that a failure to Educate yourself was a guarantee that you would fall victim to this cycle.

And folks have the nerve to marvel about a luck of Unity betwixt us. Is there any person living or dead who was not born a human being first and then accultured consequently?

MC if you dig deeply into this discussion you will see that internal battle in the Black Community had little to do with white folks and everything to do with the development of an identity.  Washington felt that if we did those self help type things and build your own that White Society would respect you for it.  He felt they we did not need to live together we just need to respect each others existence.  Dubois felt that equality and acceptance were the keep to success for the Negro.  The key to unity has to begin with a respect for each sides existence.

Funny, I think 'respect' is overrated.

I guess that depends on how you define 'respect.' 

And I'll go so far as to say that I think that is the largest problem in our world today; is the loss of meaning to a very serious part of our vocabulary.

side note: People who have to resort to cussing have a complete lack of vocabulary. Just saying lol

I mean think about it, words like Modesty, Humility, Submissiveness, Compassion, are all considered words from a church culture of the 1950's.

They are not 'Power' words and the likes of which to be promtly avoided with all their antiquated mindsets. That is because the people of the 50s and 60s so abused those words, to where the mere thought of them makes one cringe.

Ya see when it all comes down to it, it's not a black culture vs black polical issue, it's not a elephant vs donkey issue, its not a male vs female issue and its not even a vegan vs omnivor... ya get the idea lol

Its a lack of humanity and faith in God issue.

If people could look at others without the lens of race, sex, religious demoniation or politcal view, and saw each other as just another fellow humanbeing trying to love and suport their family in a screwed up world, the world might be a much happier place.

This is also, in my opinion the reason why there are issues across areas of our lives, especially like the topics mentioned here. 

'she silences herself as she steps off her lil' soapbox' :)

Oh! lemme step right up it!

Yes, the word 'respect' was already overused and worn out by the time I was born in '70.

Hows about replacing with the word Consideration? Observation. Not "paying attention" --Ach! dreadful metaphor!-- but rather Giving Attention. Inasmuchas no one actually deserves anything including being listened to. Well, infants deserve mothers' attentions I reckon.

You are such a rebel! Lol and an extremist. I just hope u never get brought before a judge because if u don't show them some respect there, ur 'toast' man lol

Zoey I love comparison of respect to words of the 50's ad 60's!!  You have sumed up nicely the discussion that is happening today in thousands of Traditional Black Families throughout America!{#basic-laugh.gif}  If we were not floated with images from Tik Tok and Instagram we would see that there are a lot of Traditional (Conservative) Black Families out here who demand Modesty, Humility and Compassion from their Children.  I sat in a Church yesterday where 500 people heard a Sermon where Faith based upon Submission to his will was the theme.

So yes, its like you say there are many things that if we removed the more divisive views that we are floated with....we would see that there is not a lot of difference between us!

I love MC's Rebel approach to things....but I have a Daughter where in my house such liberties were not allowed!{#basic-laugh.gif}  I have a Grand Daughter who knows that every Male friend she meets must pass my Inspection and such virtues as respect for self and others is demanded.  So in my Daughter and Grand Dauhters eyes I am a Traditionalist and very very Conservative!{#basic-laugh.gif}

And as you say....its not culture vs politics, its development of Basic Values and being true to them!

You made me smile. I am very much a traditionalist also. My daughter is an independent fundamentalist baptist and I'm a Roman Catholic. So, there's that lol. Yet we meet on the basics and respect each other's views and are very close.

I could be off here but I have a feeling that MC is a rebel because he has been through much in his life. And he has a right to his views too.

I agree on MC!!{#basic-laugh.gif}

To the Readers of this Site I want Apologize for the Comments left here earlier by an obvious Troll!!  I have taken measures to restrict assess to my site in the future!

I respect the opinions of others...but sometimes it is necessary to distinquish between the opinions of others and Trolling!  If you call that Censorship...then so be it.

I will in the future reserve the right to delete any comments that might come from that particular individual!!

Thank you for your understanding!


I have no trouble with you "Censoring said Troll" :)

Zoey I really tried not to, but it just became too much!{#basic-frown.gif}

Don't be too concerned about it. He was on my site causing trouble too. And a few others. It's what he does.

By the way, Amod, I read about Indiana Hoosers and the fact that apparently that phrase came from a Black Minister (in the African Methodist Church) that was very articulate during the 1760-1805 period....that goes with some other poeple you and I have talked about.

Wow! You found that!!! {#basic-laugh.gif}

Look when I was in WV back in the day...the House Matron used to get angry and call People "Hoosers"!!  I would often turn to ask the other guys in the Dorm what she was talking about...and he told me....White People!!{#rofl.gif}{#rofl.gif}

Ironic since the origion  was A black minister.  Funny how names get changed over time.

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