Date of Award

7-2006

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

African-American Studies

Abstract

This study examines the scholarship of J. A. Rogers and Rogers' use of vindicationist African-American history as a tool to illustrate his own ideas about humanism. Rogers' use of One-Drop ideology, Great Man history, and the philosophy of the bran of history combined into a subtle tool for undermining the entrenched racial attitudes of white supremacy during the twentieth century. This study was based on the premise that Rogers' use of vindicationism as a tool for humanism made his particular brand of vindicationist history relevant to Africana history.

A historiographic critical approach to vindicationist history is used in order to determine what relevancy vindicationism has to Africana history and to what extent Rogers' humanism infused subtle arguments, contributed to Rogers' relevancy to Africana history. An examination of the goals and methodologies of other vindicationist scholars was utilized to find points of similarity and difference with Rogers' scholarship. This contrast of Rogers with other vindicationists allowed the salient points of Rogers' relevancy to be distilled.

The conclusions of this study suggest that Rogers' relevancy is in his contribution to Humanism. Rogers attempts to demystify and debunk the idea of race and the history of racial intermixing, along with his championing the idea of the unity of humanity are more relevant than his vindicationist history. Additionally this study shows that both the critics of Rogers and those vindicationist historians who have followed in his footsteps have missed the subtlety in his writing. Both have viewed Rogers merely as a vindicationist. Whereas vindicationism' s tableau of black heroes is a reactionary response to Eurocentric history, Rogers' use of One-Drop ideology to debunk the idea of race was revolutionary.

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