The Myth of the Negro Past Notes
The Myth of the Negro Past Notes ANT 4315
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sarah Parker on Monday August 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANT 4315 at Florida Atlantic University taught by Susan L Brown in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 67 views. For similar materials see African-American Anthropology in Biology/Anthropology at Florida Atlantic University.
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Date Created: 08/29/16
“ AFRICAN AMERICANS” The Myth of the Negro Past Melville Herskovits Anthropologist, student of Franz Boas “The myth of the Negro past”: Herskovits used this term to refer to the belief that African Americans were inferior due to their deprivation of any culture of their own, and because they had to adopt European culture that did not suit them, they were considered inadequate as people. “The Myth of the Negro Past” Five main points that supported “Negro Inferiority”: 1. Blacks were childlike and adaptable to many situations, including slavery. 2. Those Africans enslaved were the less intelligent members of the community—those unclever enough to get caught. 3. The regional diversity of slaves meant that there was no common cultural background among them. 4. Any residual African traits would have been so inferior that the slaves would have given them up in favor of the superior European customs. 5. “The Negro is thus a man without a past.” ANT 4315g e Professor Brown Sociologist E. Franklin Frazier had a very different view than Herskovits, claiming that there was virtually no African culture that remained and this strongly disadvantaged blacks in the United States. The Opposing Views of Herskovits and Frazier Herskovits Frazier Worked to disprove Saw African culture as that African culture lost in America was dissolved Lacked understanding Broke his argument of culture and its into five main points to durability argue against Was not familiar with Presented detailed the depth of African evidence of African culture and the way culture among African culture is transmitted Americans, which included music, dancing, religious beliefs and practices Herskovits observed from fieldwork in Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States that African culture was not lost, but like most culturesbeendtransformed may times due to factors such as new environments. This is very much like how the Europeans became various kinds of Americans. Carter G. Woodson First descendant of a slave to receive a Ph.D. in 1912 Founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History Originator of Black History Week, which later went on to become Black History Month. Published “The African Background Outlined,” which provided proof of African American’s accomplishments and worked to disprove “the myth of the Negro Past”. 2 | P a g e ANT 4315 Professor Brown W.E.B. Du Bois First African American to receive a Ph.D. Published “Black Folk: Then and Now,” in 1939, which gave depth to African and African American History. Herskovits, Woodson, and De Bois all spoke of the African cultural heritage of African Americans at a time when such a heritage was denied. The formation of African American culture can be seen in three steps: 1. The adaptation of Africans from different groups to each other. 2. The adaptation of African cultural understandings to a new environment. 3. The interaction of these understandings with those of other groups in North America, including Europeans and Native Americans. 3 | P a g e ANT 4315 Professor Brown But what is certain is that people from Africa forged and continue to forge new cultures in America (Mintz and Price 1976). It is these diverse cultures, bound together by the common experience of slavery and the struggle for freedom, that define African American ethnicity. Race and Ethnicity, Chapter 9, Page 173 4 | P a g e ANT 4315 Professor Brown
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