African-American Women in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union: Part A

This question is based on the accompanying documents (1--8). The question is designed to test your ability to work with historical documents. Some of the documents have been edited for the purposes of this question. As you analyze the documents, take into account both the source of each document and any point of view that may be presented in the document.

Historical Context:

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the largest women's organization in the United States in the late nineteenth century, brought women together under a broad reform umbrella. The organization's leaders believed drunkenness led to poverty and violence within the home. The main goal of the WCTU was to make family life safer for women by outlawing the sale and consumption of alcohol. Led by Frances Willard for almost two decades, the WCTU appealed across religious, class, and racial lines, and became the first national women's reform organization that welcomed the support and efforts of middle-class African-American women. The Union set up a Department of Colored Work offering black women opportunities to participate in an interracial organization. However, despite the growth of largely African-American branches in the South and the participation of African Americans in northeastern and midwestern locals, relations across the color line within the WCTU were at times plagued with conflict and friction.


Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, answer the questions that follow each document in Part A. Your answers to the questions will help you write the essay in Part B, in which you will be asked to:

• Identify and explain two reason why African-American women desired to join the WCTU

• Compare and contrast the reasons why African-American women and white women joined the WCTU

• Identify and discuss two methods the WCTU used to recuit African-American women

• Identify and discuss two conflicts that arose between African-American women and the white leaders of the WCTU

Part A: Short-Answer Questions

Directions: Analyze the documents and answer the short-answer questions that follow each document in the space provided.

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