The New South

The following notes will help you prepare for questions about the New South on the AP U.S. History Exam.

  • Following Reconstruction, the South was faced with rebuilding its infrastructure and its economy, as well as incorporating free African Americans into a society that only a generation before had considered them property. Advocates for the New South wanted racial harmony, not to be confused with racial equality.

  • The New South was also touted as a place where hard work and Southern industrialism would lift its citizens out of poverty. African American colleges and universities, many of which relied on white benefactors, were careful to express that the training offered to their students would be useful and not a threat to whites. For example, domestic help, mechanics, and farmers would be a benefit to society and not threaten the social order. Booker T. Washington gained many supporters, as well as many critics, for espousing this point of view.

Atlanta Compromise : speech by Booker T. Washington at the Atlanta Cotton Expo, calling for African Americans to stay in the South and not force white society to accept them, but to gain acceptance through hard work

cooperatives : businesses owned and managed by farmers that allowed them to join together to buy goods at lower prices

Atlanta Cotton Expo : 1881 conference that was intended to showcase how far Atlanta had progressed since the Civil War and to showcase products for the cotton industry

Jim Crow : widespread laws throughout the South that maintained racial segregation of public facilities

National Grange Movement : social and educational organization created to support farmers and their families in 1868; active in political battles against railroads and trusts

Plessy v. Ferguson : 1896 Louisiana court case that made it to the Supreme Court that legalized "separate but equal" doctrine in all public facilities

poll taxes : a tax on voting typically applied only to African Americans or poor whites; one of several methods to prevent African Americans from voting

Tuskegee Institute : Industrial and agricultural school in Alabama, founded by Booker T. Washington in 1881


George Washington Carver : African American scientist at the Tuskegee Institute; advocated diversity in crops in the South, especially growing peanuts, sweet potatoes and, soybeans

Henry Turner : bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina; advocated for African American migration back to Africa

Booker T. Washington : educator and founder of the Tuskegee Institute; criticized by some for seemingly appeasing white southerners; former slave

Ida B. Wells : African American journalist who wrote about lynching; supported African American boycott of white-owned businesses

Related Links:
World War I Era Quiz
AP US History Quizzes
AP US History Notes
Australia Facts
13 Colonies Timeline
Bartolomeu Dias Facts
Spider monkey Facts
Apartheid Timeline
The West
Women's Suffrage