The Author and Activist in a Tarnished Gilded Age

The Author And Activist In A Tarnished Gilded Age

    Make the spelling-book the scepter of national power….(Tourgee in Pactolus Prime, 1890)

The so-named "Gilded Age” that ushered in American literary "realism” and political "progressivism” while attacking past and present injustices, ultimately did little to address the future of resolving race prejudice in national, state or local government circles.

Chapters (3)
Albion-Tourgee-Exhibit-fools_errand_book_cover.jpg Ballots, Books, and Soap Boxes

Through the late eighteenth century, Tourgee used his literary fame to broaden the base of awareness and support for human rights and equal citizenship, through weekly national and regional newspaper columns and the lecture circuit. His “Bystanders’ Notes” columns in the Inter Ocean engaged readers across the country on a range of topics.

Albion-Tourgee-Exhibit-social_criticisms.jpg Social Criticisms

In addition to his attacks on the inequality between the races, Tourgee supported efforts to establish equal rights for women, address the labor unrest sweeping the country and, control the growth of monopolies. Tourgee was also not averse to challenging members of his own party on any number of issues.

Albion-Tourgee-Exhibit-Lynching.jpg Lynching and Ida B. Wells

For people like Tourgee and Wells, reform did not always necessitate a change in the law, but rather the enforcement of existing laws where the facts revealed a blatant disregard.

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