How Did Victoria Earle Matthews's Life Reflect the Sometimes Conflicting
Attitudes of Black Self-Help and Black Political Activism?

Abstract

      Victoria Earle Matthews, the renowned African American political activist, journalist, and social reformer, persistently held to two ideals in her work for the improvement of the status of blacks after Reconstruction: civil rights agitation and community and individual self-help. Predating the rise of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois, her adherence to these principles reflected values found in the African American community at large. The documents in this project support her consistent advocacy of self-help from "home circle" columns in 1887 to the operation of the White Rose Mission as well as exhibiting her devotion to civil rights from her 1889 columns in the National Leader to her efforts to organize a mass mothers' meeting in 1903 to protest living conditions in the tenements.

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