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Extra info for Booker T. Washington and the Struggle against White Supremacy: The Southern Educational Tours, 1908-1912
35 William Graham Sumner and Herbert Spencer, sociologists, took Darwin’s evolution theory and applied it even more so to people. Their theory, known as Social Darwinism, maintained that through a process of natural selection the strong would survive and the weak would falter. Life, in fact, was a struggle and only the fittest would survive. For white racists, this became the scientific basis for explaining why African Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants were at the bottom of society, and why the white Anglo-Saxon remained at the top—they were most fit.
They copulate solely for the gratification of the passion—for the erotic pleasure it affords them. ” Shufeldt believed that blacks had a deep desire to have sexual relations with whites, so he warned all white women and children to be wary. ” Like other racists, Shufeldt did not believe African Americans could change because they were “deteriorating morally every day . . ”40 Charles Carroll weighed in on the subject in 1900 with his 382-page book The Negro a Beast or In the Image of God. ” As the title indicates, Carroll sets out to prove that African Americans were subhuman and were made more in the image of 24 BOOKER T.
D. W. Griffith utilized this image in his film Birth of a Nation. White audiences cheered when the plump, dark-skinned mammy in the film defended her master’s house during attacks from black and white Union soldiers. 25 However, Catherine Clinton, in her book The Plantation Mistress: Woman’s World in the Old South (1982), asserts that the existence of the antebellum mammy is highly unlikely: This familiar denizen [the mammy] of the Big House is not merely a stereotype, but in fact a figment of the combined romantic imaginations of the contemporary southern ideologue and the modern southern historian.