An Examination of the Question of Self-Determination and its Application to the African-American People
Robert L. Harris, Jr.
Thesis DT 3.5 1980 F724
ix, 191 leaves: map; 28 cm.
The problem that this thesis sought to understand was the reality that the African-American people in the United States are considered by some thinkers and scholars to be an oppressed nation without self-determination. To study whether the African-American people are an oppressed nation or not an oppressed nation, it was first necessary to define a nation and self-determination of nations. Based on this definition and analysis, it was necessary to ascertain whether the African-American people are a nation or not a nation. This thesis maintains they are an oppressed nation: Their nation is located in a definable geographical area of the southern part of the United States that extends from the lower part of the state of Maryland through the eastern part of Texas. Outside of this area the African-American people constitute national minorities. To better understand the history and functioning of the concept, self-determination, this thesis attempted to analyze how self-determination was applied in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and whether or not that experience has any relevance to the African-American people. Examining the Russian model proved that there was a great similarity between the way the Tsars and Tsarinas treated the people of Russia and its empire and the way oppressed nationalities are treated in the United States, especially the African-American people. The resolution of this conflict in the U.S.S.R. was worth a serious study. Efforts to implement the concept of self-determination of nations for the African-American people were made in the United States primarily by the Communist Party USA from 1928 to 1944 on the theory that the African-American people were a nation in an area of the south called the Black Belt. This thesis sought, therefore, to trace the history and politics of the Black Belt concept from 1928 to 1944: Following this analysis there is an examination of how the (CPUSA), after World War II, eventually liquidated the concept of self-determination for the oppressed African-American nation. After examining various positions and forms of self-determination, this thesis concludes that autonomy now under existing arrangements of power is possible for the oppressed African-American nation and its national minority areas.