Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

Degree Discipline





Statement of Problem:

How do you write about the masses of the people? How about the masses of Negroes especially since they leave so few documents? Up to now Negro students have written about intelligent, literate Negroes and have been ashamed of the crudities of the masses. Men like John Hope Franklin, who wrote From Slavery To Freedom, and Earl Thorpe, The Negro Mind are examples of this tendency. As J. Frank Dobie has said:

"The folk-mind is untutored but it is not at all stupid; its answers and theories may well be misguided, but this need not mean that its questions and problems are unreal or can be loftily brushed aside. The obscurity of early thought is not infrequently the obscurity of unfathomed depths, but modern sophistication should guard against the clarity which is due to mere shallowness of perception.

The course of events and the findings of the various social sciences make increasingly clear the inadequacy of all treatments of the past which deal only with the articulate groups. "As economists examined social situations by reference to statistical series which re- fleeted mass behavior; as sociologists undertook to probe the experience of inarticulate social groups; as psychologists revealed something of the nature of man in his social relationships; and as the new techniques of mass expression and communication sucked all parts of the society within their orbit", historians were inevitably forced to face the question of how the masses had lived and thought and reacted in the past. They began to realize that "whereas they had considerable information about rulers and how they had exercised their power, they had little or none about the ruled and how they had responded. " They knew something of the literary and artistic high lights, but little of the mass culture from which these high lights stood out. However little they knew about Shakespeare, they knew less about his audiences. Least of all did they know the manner of living and the processes of change which affected the multitude. They had, on the whole, "assumed that the texture of social life in any time and place was more or less of a piece--that the experience, attitudes, thoughts, and values which found record were representative of those which went unrecorded. " The possibility that within any society there had been groups whose values, attitudes, and experiences were at variance with those of the dominant, articulate group had received little recognition.

Committee Chair/Advisor

George Ruble Woolfolk

Committee Member

James Sutton Payne


Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical College


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View





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