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. Passive Activism

. Passive Activism

African American Fraternities and Sororities and the Push for Civil Rights

(p.26) (p.27) 2. Passive Activism
Black Greek-Letter Organizations 2.0
Marybeth Gasman
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines the contributions of black Greek-letter organizations (BGLOs) to the civil rights movement as well as the contradictions in their fight for civil rights for African Americans. It looks at the story of black fraternities and sororities in the civil rights struggle, with an emphasis on their activist and leadership roles. It provides examples of agency—the ability of historical players to act on their own behalf— on the part of BGLOs and considers accusations of passivity against BGLOs—that they did not advocate progress and change due to materialism, elitism, and complacency. It also discusses the BGLOs’s challenges to and endorsements of government policies concerning the African American agenda, how they attempted to make change during the civil rights era by educating the masses, and financing of the cause of civil rights. The chapter concludes by highlighting the internal critique experienced by BGLOs from leaders and members and external critique from black intellectuals.

Keywords:   black Greek-letter organizations, civil rights movement, African Americans, fraternities, sororities, agency, materialism, elitism, government policies, financing

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