Post Slavery Feminist Thought and the Pan-African Struggle (1892-1927): From Anna J. Cooper to Addie W. Hunton

Anna Julia Cooper

By the 1880s the post-slavery institutionalization of national oppression and economic exploitation of people of African descent was well underway in the United States.

Although a series of presidential orders, constitutional amendments and legislative measures enacted during 1862-1875 sought to breakdown the legal basis for the enslavement of African people, these actions were restricted by the entrenched interests of both the militarily defeated Southern planters and the emerging Northern industrialists, the two factions of the American ruling class which fought bitterly between 1861-65 for dominance over the economic system which would determine the future of society for the remaining decades of the 19th century.

President Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated at the conclusion of the Civil War in April 1865, had no definitive plan for a post-slavery reconstruction of republican democracy as it related to African people. The Emancipation Proclamation was essentially a war document designed to undermine the political and economic basis of the South and its secessionist aims designed to preserve slavery as a system of exploitation, oppression and social containment.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1865 declared that involuntary servitude was prohibited unless carried out against people who are incarcerated. Nonetheless, state laws passed by the planter class in the readmitted Confederate states were designed to reinstitute slavery just the same…

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