Theses/Dissertations - American Studies

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 23
  • Item
    The Black Community in Waco, Texas: a study of place, family, and work, 1880-1900
    (1988) Xie, Jingjing; LeMaster, J. R.; Baylor University.
    "The Black Community in Waco, Texas: A Study of Place, Family, and Work, 1880-1900," is a-local study which analyzes residential patterns, family structures, and occupational status of the city's black population in the late nineteenth century. Comparisons between 1880 and 1900 are made concerning these different aspects of life. This study relies heavily on data for Waco recorded in the United States Manuscript Census of 1880 and of 1900. The census documented basic information on family and household composition, kin relations, occupational background, and residential patterns. City directories of Waco for the time period from 1880 to 1900 provided another important source of information. These volumes contain a brief history of the city, identify the location of black businesses, and introduce black social organizations. This research project results in a five-chapter thesis. The introductory chapter provides a brief history of Waco's blacks and discusses the development of the black community from the 1830s (when Negro slaves were brought to the central part of Texas for the first time) to the post-Civil War period, which witnessed a great increase in Waco's black population and brought about a more diversified social life in the city's black community. The 1870 census indicates that the population of Waco was almost equally divided between blacks and whites. Soon the balance was broken as more white people moved into Waco, and the 1880 census shows that blacks represented about one third of the total population. By 1900, black Wacoans made up only twenty-eight percent of the total population. The distribution of these blacks in the city was relatively even among the five wards, and there was not much change in the residential patterns during the twenty-year period under study. Most of the blacks in the city lived on the west side of the Brazos River, with the largest number residing in the Fourth Ward. The findings also suggest that whites comprised a majority of the residents of East Waco, an area traditionally considered as a "black district." Through the distribution of the blacks in the city, the situation of residential segregation was revealed. On some streets, there were no blacks. On others, the only Negroes were single women or men working for white families. On the other hand, some streets were chiefly occupied by blacks, only a few white families could be found. Contributing to the development of a sense of community was the educational and religious life of black Wacoans. After the Civil War, black Wacoans built their own public schools, among which was the first black liberal arts college in the state—Paul Quinn College. They also organized their own church organizations, where ministers and pastors became leaders of black people. There were also social organizations, such as clubs and a musical band. It is through family, education, religion, and other social activities that the black Wacoans began to overcome difficulties on their way to improve themselves. During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the black family structure in Waco did not change much. Twoparent nuclear families were in the majority, followed by female-headed nuclear families. From 1880 to 1900, however, the number of nuclear families decreased, and the extendedaugmented families increased. Families in this latter category were characterized by the presence of relatives or boarders. Some sociologists suggest that extended-kinship relations played an important part in the black family life, especially in the development of a black child's character. The data also reveals a decrease in the number of families consisting solely of mothers and children. This perhaps reflected the sex and age structure of black Wacoans in which females outnumbered males in almost all age groups. The ratio of females to males, however, decreased from 1880 to 1900. Moreover, Waco's black household size followed the national trend toward smaller households from 1880 to 1900. The largest percentage of households consisted of single blacks who either lived alone or with a white family. An examination of occupational status reveals few surprises. Most black Wacoans worked in the areas of service or manual labor as cooks, servants, washwomen, and laborers, occupations which did not require much skill. Most blackowned businesses were limited to grocery stores, barber shops, and restaurants. The percentage of blacks in professional, proprietary, and skilled occupational categories to the total working population was also limited. The narrow range toward low-paying and less-skilled occupations reflects the blacks' relatively low position in the city's social and economic ladder. It also reveals that the city's black community was not large nor strong enough to reflect a distinct social, political, and economic division within the community. This study suggests that after the Civil War, black Wacoans made some progress in improving their social conditions and organizing their own community life. In order to raise their social status and to become equal to whites in every respect, it seems that they still have a long way to go.
  • Item
    The Americanization of Italians in Thurber, Texas, 1880-1920.
    (2020-12-03) Idone, Raffaele, 1989-; Parrish, T. Michael.
    Italian families arrived in Thurber, Texas, at the beginning of the twentieth century, fleeing conditions of extreme poverty and high rates of unemployment in Italy. They responded to the American demand for low-cost manpower. Despite the first decades in which Italians suffered discrimination, their admirable work ethic and willingness to adapt to a new environment allowed them to become genuine Americans rather quickly. The town of Thurber was selected for this thesis because its community counted more Italians than Americans or people of other ethnicities. As a result of their hard work in the mines, oil drilling stations, and ultimately in the local brick factory, Italians proved wrong all those who doubted their ability to assimilate into American society. Ownership of property and gaining the right to vote as citizens allowed Italians to become full-fledged Americans. At the same time, they retained their picturesque traditional habits and customs.
  • Item
    Land acquisition in Coryell County, Texas, for the formation of Camp Hood, 1942-45 : a civilian perspective.
    (1988-05) Edwards, Sylvia Ann.; Spain, Rufus B.
    This thesis examines the acquisition of land in Coryell County, Texas, for the formation of Camp Hood during the years 1942 through 1945. It focuses on the effects that event produced on property owners who surrendered land to the United States government for the building of what eventually became the free world's largest military installation. This work deals with the perspective of the affected landowners. The Preface considers original source materials used in preparation of the study. Problems related to the availability or the lack of resources are also discussed. Chapter 1 treats the United States government's right to acquire land under the power of eminent domain. The historical foundation of the principle of eminent domain is discussed, as are the particular methods of application of the policy with regard to the Camp Hood acquisition. Chapter 2 deals with the experiences of individual landowners who sold their property to the United States government for the military training center. It presents arguments in support of the thesis that the government moved hastily to displace residents without providing them with adequate and timely compensation for their property. Chapter 3 provides a statistical analysis of the acreage sold, the compensation paid, and average prices yielded by the land transactions. A detailed index of the grantors’ names is included as well as an index for the principal defendants in the condemnation suits studied for the project.
  • Item
    Journalism in the curriculum of Southern Baptist colleges and universities.
    (1960-08) Castello, Sherry Boyd.
    This thesis is a study of the development and present status of journalism education within the thirty colleges and universities operated by the Southern Baptists. It includes a listing of the earliest courses in journalism offered in the various institutions and outlines the colleges which now give majors or minors in the subject as well as those still including journalism courses in the English department. A study is made of the current curriculums in journalism, noting the subjects which are fundamental and widespread and others which are made possible only by larger enrollments and faculties. Attention is also given to the methods of instruction, and in particular to the opportunities for practical experience offered to journalism students. A chapter is devoted to the study of journalism faculties, noting individual professorial rank, education, and experience. Because Baylor University's department of journalism is responsible for substantially one-half of all Southern Baptist journalism education, special consideration is given to its continual development.
  • Item
    “To Keep and Bear Arms" : Heller and the public understanding of arms rights.
    (2019-11-08) Pollard, Jordon Sinclare, 1994-; Moody-Ramirez, Mia.
    During the first two centuries of American jurisprudence, numerous constitutional doctrines were established, yet the Second Amendment doctrine was almost entirely ignored. In District of Columbia v. Heller, Justice Antonin Scalia became the first to recognize that “the Right to Keep and Bear Arms” included personal use. From this corner-stone case, a burgeoning Second Amendment doctrine entered the national debate. However, this discourse, relying heavily on textualist principles, often neglected critical historical evidence. This dearth of appropriate historical evidence has produced incomplete decisions that undermine the textualist approach and the coherent Second Amendment doctrine. Borrowing elements from intellectual history’s contextualist tradition, this thesis proposes legal and communicative content as a means of resolving the imperfect textual understanding of the Second Amendment. Relying on Lawrence Solum’s theory of intellectual history as constitutional interpretation and the concept of public understanding, this thesis offers a path to a more complete Second Amendment doctrine.
  • Item
    Finding Harvey : the impact and iconography of album cover art on Black Gospel Music during the golden age.
    (2019-07-17) Rogers, Robert Joseph, 1960-; Darden, Bob, 1954-
    At a critical time for gospel, and at a critical time for the history of recorded gospel music, one of the most influential gospel record company’s decision to break away from conventional album packaging and unleash brilliant, vibrant strokes of “Sunday School surrealism” helped Savoy continue to further its position of influence and dominance in the world of recorded gospel music, and inadvertently created the mystique and mystery of an artist named Harvey. This article will explore Harvey’s bold and vibrant use of colors and symbols that caught the eye of potential record buyers and, years later, continues to capture the attention of gospel fans and artists alike. In the process, this thesis will attempt to evaluate the impact of the painted covers by the artist Harvey on the gospel music industry. It will also reveal the long-thought lost identity of Harvey, based on art school records, art sales, interviews with family members, gospel historians, and art experts.
  • Item
    A different kind of reservation : Waco's red-light district revisited.
    (2018-01-22) Balderach, Amy S.; Parrish, T. Michael.; Baylor University.
    Similar to other American cities after the Civil War, Waco, Texas, maintained a large red-light district. Commercialized sex boomed in Waco, as hundreds of itinerant prostitutes lived among working-class minorities, plying their trade in brothels in the Reservation, an area sanctioned specifically for prostitution. In 1889, recognizing both the possible ill effects of vice on the population and an easy means to obtain revenue, policymakers required prostitutes and madams to pay tri-monthly licensing fees to operate in the Reservation. Further, law enforcers frequently arrested bawds, gaining consistent revenue for their municipality. By maintaining a contradictory and inconsistent policy toward the bawdy women of the Reservation, Waco developed a method that was conducive to allowing a prosperous, albeit crime-ridden, sex trade to continue in the community until 1917, when the federal government created an army base, Camp MacArthur, which briefly provided a higher boost to the economy than sexual vice.
  • Item
    The Waco lynching of 1916 : perspective and analysis.
    (2018-01-22) Smith, Rogers Melton; Baylor University.
    Many lynchings have occurred in the United States. It is the purpose of this study to isolate one incident and compare its characteristics to other lynchings in Waco and to lynchings across the country. Though all lynchings have certain common strains, all vary in some respects. The factors which enter into acts of mob violence help in understanding the racial, political, economic, and social attitudes which have existed in America. In investigating a particular lynching, insight is given to the larger picture of racial attitudes sections of the country. Reaction on the national level exemplifies the anti-lynch stand of the Negroes and many northern whites. However, local reaction shows a more emotional attachment to the circumstances surrounding the incident. While centering the study on one lynching, other Waco lynchings are discussed to give perspective and further understanding to the attitudes of the citizenry.
  • Item
    A history of integration of the Waco public schools : 1954 to the present.
    (2018-01-22) Gong, Wei-ling; Baylor University.
    American public schools were segregated racially in most of the nation for more than a century after the first public school system was established in 1837 in Massachusetts. Desegregation and integration of the public schools nationwide began in 1954 when the United States Supreme Court made its historic decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The process of desegregation in the Waco Independent School District (WISD) actually started in 1963 after many problems and obstacles. By 1968, integration of both teachers and students was virtually completed. Although blacks and Mexican Americans in Waco strongly opposed the WISD's integration plan of 1973, the plan was approved by U.S. District Judge Jack Roberts on 27 July 1973. Dissatisfied with the integration situation and Roberts' order, some blacks and Mexican Americans lodged an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana. The case was returned to the District Court. As a result, the school integration plan of 1973 remained largely intact. Now, thirty-three years after the Supreme Court's 1954 decision, both de jure and de facto segregation in the Waco schools are issues of the past. The American public schools as a whole are practicing desegregated education. The issue of school integration, though no longer a main civil rights issue, still demands further attention of both the American people and the American government.
  • Item
    From extremism to extravagance : the impact of U.S. television on Iranians and Persians.
    (2016-03-23) Fassih, Elizabeth S., 1993-; Moody-Ramirez, Mia.
    Middle Easterners are often negatively stereotyped in television, including the shows examined in this study: Showtime’s Homeland, and Bravo’s Shahs of Sunset. Both represent Middle Easterners poorly; in Homeland, they are largely depicted as terrorists, while in Shahs of Sunset, Persians are portrayed as vapid and lazy. This study looked for trends between viewing these shows and harboring negative bias towards Middle Easterners, particularly Iranians/Persians. A two-pronged approach was used: first, a brief content analysis of the shows was performed; next, a survey was administered, gauging respondents’ familiarity with the shows and perceptions of Middle Easterners. Findings indicate Homeland viewers trended toward perceiving Middle Easterners more negatively than non-viewers. Viewers of Shahs of Sunset did not perceive Persians significantly worse. Findings suggest that shows portraying Middle Easterners as violent are tied more closely to viewers’ negative perceptions than are shows casting Middle Easterners in nonviolent, albeit unpleasant, roles.
  • Item
    Up she rises : the birth and legacy of the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program.
    (2015-07-29) Freeman, Julie M.; Sloan, Stephen M.
    Historic county courthouses, the crown jewels of Texas architecture, are facing serious threats both physical and political in nature. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named them one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in both 1998 and 2012. The Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program has been working diligently to protect, restore and preserve the state’s sacred treasures. This thesis explores the role of the county courthouse in shaping the identity of a community and the importance of the program in safeguarding that history and standing against the rising tide of architectural homogenization. The thesis closely examines Hill, Wharton and Newton counties as the poster children for historic preservation, arguing that the intrinsic historic value of Texas county courthouses far exceeds the economic and political forces that are threatening to destroy them.
  • Item
    The women of Supernatural : more than stereotypes.
    (2014-09-05) Leddy, Miranda B.; Moody-Ramirez, Mia.; American Studies.; Baylor University. American Studies Program.
    This critical discourse analysis of the American horror television show, Supernatural, uses a gender perspective to assess the stereotypes and female characters in the popular series. As part of this study 34 episodes of Supernatural and 19 female characters were analyzed. Findings indicate that while the target audience for Supernatural is women, the show tends to portray them in traditional, feminine, and horror genre stereotypes. The purpose of this thesis is twofold: 1) to provide a description of the types of female characters prevalent in the early seasons of Supernatural including mother-figures, victims, and monsters, and 2) to describe the changes that take place in the later seasons when the female characters no longer fit into feminine or horror stereotypes. Findings indicate that female characters of Supernatural have evolved throughout the seasons of the show and are more than just background characters in need of rescue by men. The female audience will be exposed to a more accurate portrayal of women to which they can related and be inspired.
  • Item
    Until vision and ethos reunite : Christian higher education’s struggle for academic faithfulness.
    (2013-09-24) Stamile, David A.; Glanzer, Perry L. (Perry Lynn); American Studies.; Baylor University. American Studies Program.
    Fundamentalist/modernist controversies at Southern Methodist University, Baylor University and Rhodes College illustrate the consequences of a truth/value split that ultimately created an epistemological crisis across American college campuses during the first half of the 20th century. Such controversies were the result of a vision of truth that held that faith and knowledge had little to do with each other. All three institutions grappled with a vision for academic faithfulness and relied on ethos consisting of piety to bolster their fledgling Christian identity.
  • Item
    Here we remain : the legacy of El Movimiento in Crystal City, Texas.
    (2013-09-24) Martinez, Priscilla M.; Sloan, Stephen M.; American Studies.; Baylor University. American Studies Program.
    Few examples of El Movimiento, remain as visible as the Mexican American experience in the South Texas town of Crystal City. “Here We Remain” traces the evolution of Mexican American history, offering context through which to examine the Mexican American narrative and providing background for El Movimiento. Secondly, this thesis examines the unique characteristics of Crystal City, Texas, a community intrinsically tied to the genesis and proliferation of Chicanismo, cementing itself permanently within the historical study of El Movimiento. Next, this thesis details the development of individual identity and community within the town. This thesis explores the paradox between citizens’ positive individual responses and negative community reactions towards El Movimiento. Finally, this thesis presents the legacy of El Movimiento within the Crystal City community, calling to attention some unexplored dimensions of Mexican American social history that have Crystal City residents still whispering, “Here we remain.”
  • Item
    Humans on display : searching for purpose among museum exhibits featuring live humans.
    (2013-09-16) Swenson, Katherine Elizabeth.; Holcomb, Julie L., 1963-; American Studies.; Baylor University. American Studies Program.
    The purpose of this study is to explore why modern exhibits featuring live humans on display are so popular and what societal behavior patterns it reveals for the twenty‐first century. The research for this assessment was extremely diverse, pulling together news articles, online videos, blogs, and comments on social media sites in hopes of providing a well‐rounded analysis of the public response to these exhibits. Additionally, the study assesses how this research can be used by museums for integrating visitor needs with institutional needs. The analysis argues that modern examples of humans on display at educational institutions lack an identifiable purpose, at least to the public eye.
  • Item
    Designing a wilderness : the legacy of Benton MacKaye and the Appalachian Trail.
    (2012-08-08) Wolfgang, Amy.; Sloan, Stephen M.; American Studies.; Baylor University. American Studies Program.
    Forester and regional planner Benton MacKaye first published a plan for a long-distance hiking trail along the crest of the Appalachian Mountains in 1921. Ninety years later, MacKaye's greatest accomplishment is the Appalachian Trail, a footpath traversing over two-thousand miles through fourteen states. His plan incorporated both wilderness and social ideology, at times bordering on the radical. Central to all of MacKaye's ideology was that outdoor recreation should be accessible to as many Americans as possible. Undervalued for decades in the environmental community, interest in MacKaye's cohesive understanding of a “primeval” environment is growing. An examination of MacKaye's work establishes lasting influence through the history of the Appalachian Trail. Using MacKaye's writing as a basis for evaluating influence, two major events, the 1968 National Trails System Act and the 1984 delegation of power back to the Appalachian Trail Conference will be reevaluated to determine the legacy of Benton MacKaye.
  • Item
    Stereotypes of Asians and Asian Americans in the U.S. media : appearance, disappearance, and assimilation.
    (2011-09-14) Yang, Yueqin, 1987-; Ferdon, Douglas Robert, 1945-; American Studies.; Baylor University. American Studies Program.
    This thesis commits to highlighting major stereotypes concerning Asians and Asian Americans found in the U.S. media, the “Yellow Peril,” the perpetual foreigner, the model minority, and problematic representations of gender and sexuality. In the U.S. media, Asians and Asian Americans are greatly underrepresented. Acting roles that are granted to them in television series, films, and shows usually consist of stereotyped characters. It is unacceptable to socialize such stereotypes, for the media play a significant role of education and social networking which help people understand themselves and their relation with others. Within the limited pages of the thesis, I devote to exploring such labels as the “Yellow Peril,” perpetual foreigner, the model minority, the emasculated Asian male and the hyper-sexualized Asian female in the U.S. media. In doing so I hope to promote awareness of such typecasts by white dominant culture and society to ethnic minorities in the U.S.
  • Item
    The professionalization of youth sports in America.
    (2011-09-14) Cox, Jordan D.; Stone, Sara J.; American Studies.; Baylor University. American Studies Program.
    Adolescent athletes in America have unknowingly been turned into de facto professionals by existing organized youth sports systems. The current approaches have become overly injurious to participants and their families. This work explores the history of organized youth sports in America, some of the adult factors involved in youth sports, the cost emotionally and developmentally to kids involved, overuse injuries, and how youth sports has become big business. While competition is an integral part of American culture, strong alternatives to current youth sports systems do exist. Examples are given of efforts being made to reshape youth sports and provide healthier benefits to participants.
  • Item
    Sino-Soviet border clashes of 1969 and its implications on the making of U.S. foreign policy.
    (2010-10-08T16:27:15Z) Shi, Yan, 1981-; Ferdon, Douglas Robert, 1945-; American Studies.; Baylor University. American Studies Program.
    Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Sino-U.S. relations have experienced twists and turns. Along with the changing postwar international situation, both Washington and Beijing turned to develop their foreign policies favorable to the other. The Sino-Soviet military clashes at Zhenbao (Damanskii) Island broke out in March 1969, which played an important role in shaping the reorientation of US's China policy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Within the context of both the development of the Sino-Soviet border conflict and the U.S.'s changing foreign policies in 1968 and 1969, America's own hostile stance towards China in the aftermath of the crisis was reduced, and the Nixon administration made it possible for the Chinese leaders to begin a major reorientation of its foreign relations with the U.S. The impact of Sino-Soviet tensions on the moves toward rapprochement was taken by both Beijing and Washington and Nixon managed to reestablish a new relationship with the People's Republic of China.
  • Item
    Beck Boots : the story of cowboy boots in the Texas Panhandle and their important role in American life.
    (2010-06-23T12:27:33Z) Barrett, Tye E.; Ferdon, Douglas Robert, 1945-; American Studies.; Baylor University. American Studies Program.
    Merton McLaughlin moved to the Texas Panhandle and began making cowboy boots in the spring of 1882. Since that time, cowboy boots have been a part of the Texas Panhandle's, and America's rich history. In 1921, twin brothers Earl and Bearl Beck purchased McLaughlin’s boot shop. The Beck family has been making cowboy boots in the Texas Panhandle ever since. This thesis seeks not only to present a history of Beck Boots and cowboy boots in the Texas Panhandle, but also suggests that the relationship between bootmakers, like Beck Boots, and the working cowboy has been the center of success to the business of bootmakers and cowboys alike. Because many, like the Beck family, have nurtured this relationship, cowboy boots have become a central theme and important icon in American life.