DID PROGRESSIVISM SUCCEED?
Progressives had done much to improve the condition of American cities, the plight of factory workers, the support available for urban immigrants, and the democratic nature of the American political process. However, progressive reforms did much less for migrant farmers and others outside of the city. Many blacks were disappointed that few alliances ever took place between black leaders and progressives; Theodore Roosevelt met twice with Booker T. Washington but other than that did little to help the conditions of blacks during his presidency. Race riots occurred in Springfield, Illinois, in 1908. The anti-black message of D. W. Griffith’s 1915 film Birth of a Nation was applauded by many; President Wilson stated that the film presented a “truthful” depiction of the Reconstruction era. In 1909 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded to further the fight of blacks for political equality in America.
The outbreak of World War I in Europe turned the interests of many away from political reform. Only those reformers concerned with women’s suffrage relentlessly pursued their cause during the war years.