Unit 4, Assignment 1- Erin Simard

Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell were fearless black women who used their respective positions in society (Wells as a journalist, and Terrell as one of the few elite black women in America) to advocate for issues pertaining to gender and racial equality. While Wells focused much of her work on the physical manifestations of racism, Terrell spent much of her social capital attempting to permeate white organizations and structures due to her belief in racial uplift, or the idea that black people could end their own oppression through education, socialization, and work within their local communities. Though these two issues might appear to be separate, they both stem from the same vicious systematic and institutionalized racism that pervaded- and still pervades- America. Wells’ and Terrell’s writing demonstrates that no matter how racism manifests itself, its effects can be equally pernicious to black Americans and their opportunities to live equally.

Wells and Terrell also did not stop at merely standing for their equality; they both created exclusively black organizations and actively challenged their white counterparts in order to ascertain that their skin color would not affect the way they were treated even within activist communities, demonstrating the significance of intersectionality.

Unit 4 Assignment 1 – Kade McCulloch

Mary Church Terrell was an early civil rights activist who was born to former slave parents in 1863 in Memphis, Tennessee.  I struggled to find any information regarding her religious affiliations, however from her article, What it Means to be Colored in the United States, it can be inferred that she was Christian.  Both of Terrell’s parents were successful small business owners.  Her affluent background provided her with unique opportunities that most African Americans did not possess the means to achieve.  Her parents exemplified the importance of education and Terrell attended Oberlin College in Ohio. Her activism was sparked in 1892 in response to the lynching of Thomas Moss, a black friend of Terrrell who was lynched by white men because his business competed with theirs.  This incident provoked her to take an active role in the anti-lynching campaign along with Ida B. Wells. While Wells’s work was centered on the unjust, mob mentality nature of the lynching of black men, Terrell dedicated her life work to the notion of racial uplift.  This concept supported the belief that black people could contribute to the end of racial discrimination by advancing their position in society through education, work, and collective activism.  Terrell believed that racial uplift could gain black’s the recognition and respect from their white counterparts, which was fundamental for the dissolution of racial discrimination. In 1896, she founded the National Association of Colored Women (NACW).  The official motto of the group was “lifting as we climb.” This echoed her sentiments that individual success among members of the black community would contribute to their collective rise in societal status. Terrell furthermore promoted women’s suffrage, as she believed that the right to vote would elevate black women’s societal status.  She stated that she belonged to “the only group in this country that has two such huge obstacles to surmount… both race and sex.” Women constituted the focus of Terrell’s activist work due to their lowered position in society.

Ida B. Wells was born into slavery amidst the Civil War in 1862 in Mississippi.  After losing both of her parents to yellow fever, she moved to Memphis in 1878. She was baptized in the methodist-episcopal church.  Wells played a central role in initiating the anti-lynching campaign after one of her friends was unjustly lynched. She turned her attention to the fundamental issue of “white mob violence” in conjunction with the numerous unjust lynchings of black men that occurred throughout the country.  She published her beliefs regarding racial inequality uncensored in a Memphis press. She received substantial backlash, including numerous threats for her articles. The threats became so bad that she was forced to move to Chicago in 1893. Wells traveled internationally in her career in order to shed light on the use of lynching to suppress black people socially and politically in the hopes of raising awareness to racial issues in the United States to foreign audiences.  She furthermore openly confronted white woman for blatantly ignoring the issue of lynching. Ida B. Wells does not propose any concrete solutions to anti-black violence, but her courage to expose the issues of lynching and oppression allowed for a broad audience to view her perceptions.

Unit 4 Assignment 1- Jamie Aciukewicz

Women play a crucial role in the works of both Wells and Terrel. In Wells, white women are able to put black men to death just by accusing them of rape. These accusations do not have to have any merit as white women hold the power in the situation and thus the black men are automatically assumed guilty. Women are not the subject of Wells’ writing, but they play a very important part due to the power that they have.

            In Terrel, black women are the subject of her writing. She begins by saying Washington DC is “the colored man’s paradise” but goes to show how far from paradise the city is, especially for black women. Terrel writes about many accounts of black women receiving unfair treatment in the workplace and establishments, solely due to the color of their skin.

            Neither Wells nor Terrel talk about potential solutions to anti-black violence, which I found to be a flaw in both of their works. Wells talks more about physical violence against blacks while Terrel talks more about the systematic oppression of black women. In both works, white people have authority and use their position of power to hurt black people.      

Bryan Tran – Unit 4 post 1

Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells-Barnett fought for human rights in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Terrell was an African American activist who attended Oberlin College. She was in the growing upper-middle-class group of African Americans that fought against racial discrimination. She was born on September 23, 1863, in Memphis, Tennessee. Both of her parents were former slaves. Her mother owned a hair salon, and her dad was a successful businessman who was one of the South’s first African American millionaires. Even Though they divorced, their affluence supported Terrell’s education, which allowed her to go to Antioch College laboratory school in Ohio. Her first career was in 1885 teaching modern language at Wilberforce University, a historically black college founded collaboratively by the Methodist Church in Ohio and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She started her activism in 1892 when her friend Tomas Moss was lynched in Memphis by whites because of his competitive business. This was when Terrell joined Ida B. Wells-Barnett in her anti-lynching campaigns. Even though Terrell helped with the anti-lynching campaigns, she focused on the notion of racial uplift, which is the notion that with blacks being educated, they would end racial discrimination. Terrel specifically fought for women suffrage and civil rights because she says that she belonged “to the only group in this country that has two such huge obstacles to surmont…both sex and race.” In 1904, she a founder and charter member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. When abroad from 1904 to 1919, she could persuade the foreign press to publish her articles on human relations.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, on July 16, 1862. She as born into slavery during the Civil War, and when the war ended, her parents became active in the Reconstruction Era politics. Similarly to Terrell, her parents believed in the importance of education. Her father was involved with the Freedman’s Aid Society and helped start Shaw University. The university was a school for newly freed slaves. Her religious beliefs led her activism and devotion to racial uplift. Both her parents were devoutly religious. Religious parables provided the rhetoric of her arguments, which shaped the direction of her writing. Her social, political, and economic justice was not just for civil rights but based on the tenets of Christian ideals. At the age of 16, both of her parents passed away. This personal tragedy that made her become the oldest of the family. In 1893, she joined black leaders in calling for the boycott of the World’s Columbian Exposition. She also traveled internationally to spread her activism on lynching to foreign audiences. She would openly confront white women in the suffrage movement who ignored lynching. This act caused her ridicule by women’s suffrage organization. Even with some backlash, she remained to stay active in women’s rights.

Terrell and Well-Barnett made contributions to the development of human relations and civil rights during a period when women, black or white, were permitted only limited participation in public life. They also were at the forefront of campaigns to promote specific services to the black community. Some examples of these services were daycare, parental education, recreational programs, employment services, and a range of other services for youths and the elderly. Both of these activities reflected their style and self-expression that characterized black women reformers.

sode smith, unit 4 post 1

Ida B. Wells was a member of the First Baptist Church, which roots itself in baptizing only professing believers of Christ as the savior. They believe strongly that every person is accountable to God for their actions. Because of her strong baptist beliefs, Wells wrties about physical violence (lynching) and also the mob mentality. In her article, Wells desricbes how lynching became widley accpeted in White, Southern communties, and how this form of violence has become “unwritten law,” with no punishments for those involved. This type of violence is attributed to the social norms / culture of the southern states, and how over time these unjust forms of action were “legalized” since these people who preformed lynchings never received any type of justice. This is extremely dehumanizing to the black community, because the law doesn’t serve them, and they aren’t allowed to have a trial: no person is safe from this unjust crime. However, Terrell describes a different type of violence, one ingrained in the law, which made all of the actions she describes completely legal. For example, Terrell discusses legal segregation, and how there is a form of violence in which colored people couldn’t entertain basic human rights (employment, education, accommodations).  This is violence because the colored community faces legal obstacles to their potential success. Because of this legal repression, Terrell states that there are no incentives for black individuals to get an education, because they will be demeaned and forced to work in menial jobs For both of these women, the root cause of these types of violence is society’s norms and culture. Lycnhing evolved as a type of “legal” violence because society allowed these crimes to pass and the legal structures didn’t allow for justification. Jim Crow is also an example of how society can be a root cause of violence, since legal segregation is promoted in the laws of the land. Women constitute the focus of both Wells and Terrell because they face slightly different types of violence than men do. For example, there is a certain type of intersectionality that both of these female authors address. Not only do women have to deal with the factor of their race, they also have to deal with the discrimantion that comes with their gender. Wells describes instances in which females were lynched because they refused to say where their male relatives were hiding, and this can serve as an example of gender discrimantion because even though the woman was clearly inconcent, she was still killed because she refused to open up. Terrell more clearly addresses intersectionality in her article because she describes the many instances in which females were prohibited or had their jobs retracted due to their race. Not only did these women have to deal with gender dircimantion, but racial discrimination as well. Both of these authors have strong reactions to the types of violence they are describing. Wells is disgusted by what she is describing because how do we as a society allow innocent people to be killed for no reason. Why are some individuals only acting based off their emotions? Terrell is also furious when writing about Jim Crow. Even when blacka and white people have the same credentials, the law prohibits black people from being able to succeed. Since they can barely secure low paying jobs, the colored community will never be able to escape this cycle of legal repression. 

Olivia Harper Unit 4 Post 1

Ida B. Wells was born into slavery in Mississippi during the Civil War.  6 months later, her and her family were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation.  Wells attended Rust College, a historically black and Methodist institution, but had to drop out after her parents died of yellow fever.  She worked as a teacher but launched her career in social activism after she was asked to leave a first class train car on account of her being black.  She started her own press in Memphis and wrote social commentaries, unafraid of criticizing anyone. After three of her friends were lynched before their court trial, she focused on the issue, raising awareness and provoking action.  She toured internationally speaking on the injustices of lynch mobs in the South. Angry Memphis locals burned and raided her press and she moved to Chicago to continue her work. She co founded the NAACP and became involved in the suffragette movement, focusing on the rights of black women.  She was well known and respected for her work, but was asked to march at the back of the Suffragette Parade in DC so as to not offend white suffragettes. She refused and joined the march on her own terms.

Notable Quotes:\

  • “[Rape charges during a lynching] closed the heart, stifled the conscience, warped the judgment and hushed the voice of pulpit and press.” 
  • “A Winfield rifle should have a place of honor in every black home.  The more the Afro-American yields and cringes and begs, the more he has to do so, the more he is insulted, outraged and lynched.”
  • “I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”

Mary Church Terrell was born in 1863 to freed slaves.  Her parents were prominent business owners who sent Terrell to college.  Terrell earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in teaching. She took on the issue of lynching after one of her close friends was lynched in Memphis.  It was the same incident that prompted Ida B Wells to take action on the issue. Terrell was a co founder of the NAACP and a prominent suffragette. She noticed that many white suffragettes did not advocate for the same rights for women of color.  She encouraged African Americans to educate themselves in order to be accepted by white society. Near the end of her life, she won a court case that ruled that segregated restaurants in Washington DC are unconstitutional.

Notable Quotes:

  • “And so, lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go, struggling and striving, and hoping that the buds and blossoms of our desires will burst into glorious fruition ‘ere long.”
  • “It is impossible for any white person in the United States, no matter how sympathetic and broad, to realize what life would mean to him if his incentive to effort were suddenly snatched away. To the lack of incentive to effort, which is the awful shadow under which we live, may be traced the wreck and ruin of score of colored youth.”
  •  “As a colored woman I may enter more than one white church in Washington without receiving that welcome which as a human being I have the right to expect in the sanctuary of God.”

Unit 4 Assignment 1

Grace Gardella

Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells were both black activists, writers, and reformers during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Researching their religious backgrounds was difficult, however, Wells is confirmed to be baptized in the Methodist Church. Both the daughters of slaves immediately before emancipation and the Reconstruction period, Terrell and Wells were educated and affluent, becoming successful, earning their label today as part of the “black elite.” Having this privilege, these women used their abilities and opportunities to speak out and fight racial discrimination and violence. In particular, Terrell brought attention to the suffrage movement, emphasizing the importance of allowing black women to vote, and Wells researched and wrote about the unjust practice of lynching in the South.

Mary Church Terrell focused her solution on “racial uplift.” This is the concept that blacks must take advantage of opportunities to advance themselves through education, work, and activism. If one black person becomes successful, this helps to elevate the race as a whole. This concept however, is based on the idea that all blacks have equal opportunities as whites, which aligns with Terrell’s background, as she took advantage of opportunities, received an education, and advanced past her parent’s lives to become successful.

To expose the corrupt punishment of lynching, Ida B. Wells researched and wrote reports, creating solutions to this racial violence. Wells believed that lynching was practiced not to ensure punishment for criminals, but to enforce “economic subordination” on blacks. In her research, she found that lynching was often justified by the myth of black men raping white women. However, this was not usually the case, but instead it was a way to protect white economic power during the Reconstruction period. To combat this practice and ensure black economic advancement, Wells “encouraged black residents… to leave, taking with them their labor and capital.”

Peebles-Wilkins, Wilma, and E. Aracelis Francis. “Two Outstanding Black Women in Social Welfare History: Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells-Barnett.” Affilia5, no. 4 (December 1, 1990): 87–100. https://doi.org/10.1177/088610999000500406.

National Women’s History Museum. “Mary Church Terrell.” Accessed November 17, 2019. https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/mary-church-terrell.

Ugarte, Rodrigo. “Ida B. Wells and the Economics of Racial Violence.” Items(blog). Accessed November 17, 2019. https://items.ssrc.org/reading-racial-conflict/ida-b-wells-and-the-economics-of-racial-violence/.

Center for the Study of Southern Culture. “On Violence in the South: Ida B. Wells-Barnett,” July 11, 2016. https://southernstudies.olemiss.edu/on-violence-in-the-south-ida-b-wells-barnett/.

Unit 4 Assignment 1 Emily McDill

Although Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells were both Civil Rights activists, they had different approaches toward eliminating inequality, which can be attributed to their different backgrounds and beliefs. 

Mary Church Terrell was born the daughter two two former slaves in 1863 in Memphis, TN. Viewing her own parents’ success as small business owners, she especially valued the importance of an education (she was one of the first African American Women to earn a college degree), and hardwork, taking a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of approach to social mobility. Terrell was particularly active in the women’s suffrage movement, advocating for the franchise of all women regardless of race. 

Ida B. Wells was born into slavery in MIssissippi in 1862. Like Terrell, Wells believed strongly in the importance of education, and worked as both a teacher and a journalist. Wells also helped found the NAACP.  In 1892 she wrote an expository piece, “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in all its Phases,” about the lynching of African American men, after experiencing the devastating effects of violence first hand when her friend was lynched. The articles caused so much backlash in Memphis that Wells had to move to Chicago. 

Although the death of a friend to mob violence was the impetus for both women’s advocacy against lynching, Wells and Terrell described violence differently. Wells believed lynch violence was a means for the white population to suppress  the threat of African American success and potential for advancement, while Terrell focused on ending violence by encouraging African Americans to lift each other up. Wells’s views, particularly her suggestion that armed defense may be necessary to prevent violence against African Americans, were considered more provocative and radical, with the U.S. government even marking her a “race agitator”. The white population widely found Terrell’s moderate and gradual approach more palatable, but Terrell also attributes the greater degree of respect she received to her ability to pass as white. 

Wells and Terrell took very different approaches to advocating for the rights of African Americans, however both women are respected as integral figures in the fight for equal rights for women and African Americans during the Reconstruction Era.

Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell: Unit 4 Assignment 1 by Alec Stimac

Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells were both prolific African American activists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both advocating for nonviolence, justice, and empowerment of underrepresented groups. Ida B. Wells was led by her strong (Christian) religious beliefs, instilled by her devout parents, towards racial uplift (the belief that blacks would help end racial discrimination through self and community advancement). Her involvement in the anti-lynching campaign, black women’s movement, and reform of American policy was held closely tied to her religious theology. For Wells, political and social justice was not just based on civil rights, but on Christian values and identity. In comparison, Mary Church Terrell championed women’s suffrage and racial equality, joining Ida B. Wells in the anti-lynching campaign and racial uplift. However, her work focused mostly on lifting others up on the journey, especially women, as she co-founded the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) alongside Ida B. Wells to help advance her agenda. She was also raised in a Christian household, guiding her beliefs and approaches to finding justice.

Ida B. Wells

Each of them proposed solutions and ideas to prevent injustice. However, Ida B. Wells was more engaged with race relations while Terrell focused heavily on gender (both black and white women). In addition, Wells went about fighting for the rights of colored people in a more militant way than organized, receiving a lot more threats of violence and hate. Yet, both made impact in courageous ways that helped push forward justice and rights for people of color and women. Ultimately, they wanted to fix broken systems and uplift people to create change and lasting impact on America.

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

– Ida. B Wells

Sources:

Grant Hearne, Unit 4 Assignment 1

Mary Church Terrell was the child of former slaves who became successful business-people in Memphis. She attended Oberlin College and worked as a professor in Washington D.C. until a family friend was lynched in Memphis for having a competing business. At this time, she began working with Ida B. Wells on an anti-lynching campaign focused on African-American empowerment. She later co-founded the National Association of Colored Women and the NAACP. Her religion was important to her work as seen in her speech, “What It Means to be Colored in the Capital of the United States,” when she states, “as a colored woman I may enter more than one white church in Washington without receiving that welcome which as a human being I have a right to expect in the sanctuary of God.”

Ida B. Wells was born into slavery, but her parents became active politicans and she attended college following the civil war. After her parents died from yellow fever, she raised her siblings in Memphis where she sued a train car company for unequal treatment. Following the lynching of a friend, she began writing agaimst mob culture. This turned locals in Memphis against her and drove her to Chicago, Illinois where she married a prominent lawyer. She toured the world speaking on women’s rights. 

In her speech, “Lynch Law in America,” Ida B. Wells targets lynchings in the United States against African-Americans, many of whom are innocent. In Mary Church Terrell’s speech, she identifies the misconception that D.C. is “the colored man’s paradise,” providing anecdotes and circumstances to support her thesis that African-Americans cannot secure any job above a “menial” position. Although each are different acts of violence, both have roots in the racist beliefs of white people in Jim Crow America. Terrell continually highlights discrimination on the basis of skin color and a barrier that kept African-Americans in low-paying positions. Her story of a female clerk who moved back to D.C. from New York shows this discrimination. Although she was an outstanding clerk for the same company in a different city, she was rejected by the employer in D.C. because the co-workers and customers petitioned the employer. This story along with that of the artist show that discrimination in Washington was not based on perceived ability, in fact their work was praised, but solely on the basis of skin color. Discrimination in D.C. limited African-Americans to low-paying jobs which locked them in oppression with no permitted social mobility. Similar to Terrell, Wells analyzes lynchings by the dynamic between oppressed and oppressor. She notes that “if a few barns were burned some colored man was killed to stop it. If a colored man resented the imposition of a white man and the two came to blows, the colored man had to die, either at the hands of the white man then and there or later at the hands of a mob that speedily gathered.” She continues to explain that these murders were committed without court trials because political explanation and justice were abandoned. These events were the white man using the body of the African-American as a scapegoat. Though with different consequences, the lawlessness of these events parallels the unreasonableness of employers and admissions officers in Washington. Both lock African-Americans in the oppression of Jim Crow. 

Women are represented differently in each text. Terrell explains that white women discriminate as much as white men. In her story of the clerk, Terrell quotes the employer as saying, “delegation after delegation began to file down to my office, some of the women my very best customers, to protest against my employing a colored girl.” This is in contrast to Terrell’s depiction of the courage of the African-American woman who moved to New York for opportunity but then moved back to D.C. for her family. Wells explains how the proclaimed victim of the African-American crime was the white woman. Of 241 lynchings in 1892, 46 were charges of rape. Many lynchers justified their actions as a “protection of the honor of [their] women.” This is also in contrast to the courage of the African-American woman who “have been murdered because they refused to tell the mobs where relatives could be found for ‘lynching bees.’”

On the surface, both speeches can be taken as a response to the injustice of racism and the particular impacts that each discusses; however, both Terrell and Wells identify the unreasonableness and lawlessness of the perpetrators and this is as close as a solution that they can come to. The solution they present is to use reason and follow the law. The solution is to be a human being.

Unit 4 Assignment 1 by Skylar McVicar

Mary Church Terrell

  • Background
    • Born in Tennessee in 1863
    • Daughter of two former slaves
    • She attended Oberlin College
    • First African-American woman to earn a college degree
  • Religion
    • Taught at a college associated with the Methodist Church
  • Expressions of violence
https://www.biography.com/activist/mary-church-terrell

Ida B. Wells

  • Background
    • Born into slavery during Civil War
    • Moved to Tennessee after yellow fever killed her parents
    • Moved to Chicago after she was removed from a train car for no reason and received backlash from the community
  • Religion
    • Devout Christian
    • Emulated her parents’ commitments to religion and racial uplift by merging the two concepts and making them the essence of her activism
    • Social, political and economic justice were civil rights and intrinsic to Christian ideals, righteousness, and self identity
  • Expressions of violence
    • Traveled to shed light on the lynching issue to foreign audiences
    • Was a founder of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club
    • A vocal critic of the condition of blacks only schools
    • Fought for women’s suffrage
    • Led an anti-lynching campaign in D.C.
    • Founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) along with MAry Church Terrell
    • Fought against prejudice, no matter what potential dangers she faced
https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/ida-b-wells-barnett
https://www.biography.com/activist/ida-b-wells
https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=6022

Both women were extremely influential and impactful activists. Their common history of slavery and discrimination fueled their individual desires to fight against discrimination for all blacks and women. Because of their experiences with unlawful discrimination, both women faught in their communities and at the state and federal levels to enact change. Women nowadays constitute the particular focus of both Terrell and Wells by fighting for certain rights even when the male majority wants to oppress women. Through their actions, Terrell and Wells encourage all black people facing racial prejudice to respond by fighting against their oppressors with education and activist movements. Often times, the courts are where the most lasting action will be implemented.

Unit 4 Assignment 1- Lauren Meyers

Mary Church Terrell was a women’s suffrage and racial equality activist that was born to former slaves. She used her position as a member of the rising middle/upper class to fight gender and race discrimination. Terrell’s activism was sparked in 1892 when her friend, Thomas Moss, was lynched solely because his business was successful and competed with the whites’ business. Ida B. Wells was born into slavery during the Civil War. After the war, her friend was lynched, and she turned her attention to white mob violence. Wells used her writing skills to combat sexism, racism, and violence. 

Both Terrell and Wells were involved in the anti-lynching campaigns, but they had different ideas on how to end racial discrimination. Wells openly confronted white women who remained idle during the black lynchings. Terrell, however, worked to inspire black people and advocated for racial uplift, the notion that discrimination could be stopped if blacks advanced themselves through work, activism, and education. Terrell believed that this could only be achieved through unity. Though Terrell championed suffrage for all women, black or white, she placed a strong emphasis on black women’s suffrage, for within the women’s rights movement, there was a great disregard for African American women. She believed that women’s suffrage would help to better the position of black women and in turn help the entire race. Wells recognized that lynching was a means to repress blacks and also found that many women who had claimed to be raped by black men had actually consented to sex. While Terrell seems to propose solutions to ending racial discrimination, Wells focuses on responses to individual acts of violence. Punishment for these acts of violence, however, could deter future actions of the same nature from happening, ultimately serving as a solution to ending anti-black violence.

Julie Moock Unit 4 Post 1

Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells, prominent African American writers, both discuss ways in which the white ruling class subjugated African Americans during the Jim Crow period. Wells describes and criticizes lynching, the practice of hanging and tortuing the accused as a punishment, namely against young black males. Lynching, as Wells states, was motivated by a fear of “negro dominiation.” Often times, African American males were unjustly accused of violence against white women, perpetuating a stereotype of white purity and black criminality. The ultimate goal of lynching was to instill fear into the African American community and dehumanize its members by taking away their right to due process. Wells argues that in order to remedy this problem, Americans must “see the defect in our country’s armor” and take steps to dismantle it. Terell, on the other hand, writes about segregation in public spaces, and the inability for African Americans to gain sustainable employment. As a woman, she argues it was even more difficult to find employment in the few fields women were allowed to enter. This form of Jim Crow was born not only out of fear that African Americans, just as equally equipped, would succeed in society, but also out of the white community’s desire to maintain superiority. Prevented from securing education or employment, Terrell might argue that segregation in this way was just as oppressive as lynching, both undermining the livelihood of African Americans. She ends by rejecting the hopelessness that African Americans so often felt. She claims that giving up, accepting a life without education or a career is an affront to the capability and brilliance that African Americans hold. The common root for these forms of oppression seem to be both fear and a desire to exercise power over others. 

U3P4: Stories Over Statistics – Thomas Baker

One of the commonalities I have been thinking about since reading these two texts has been the theme of looking at the little things in the midst of a large catastrophe.

 When it comes to events that impact millions of people, like wars, genocide, and disasters, it can be easy to get lost in the facts. Overlooking the stories for the statistics. Watching the death toll rise like a new high score. 6 million Jews killed. Bar set. Oh, this atrocity had only 800,000 deaths. At least it wasn’t as bad.  

As harsh as this sounds, I think this is a subconscious coping mechanism that most people today experience. What these stories do differently is they make the case for telling stories, not just listing facts. We learn names, imagine places, make connections to actual people. Sontag makes an argument for the power of a photograph and looking at a pair of human eyes. She explains the pitfalls of not being able to smell, hear, and taste the realities of other people’s lives. Gourevitch, on pages 111-112, decides to tell us about an old man who really loved watching TV because he was handicapped. These seemingly inconsequential details allow us to understand the reality of events we didn’t personally experience.

Unit 3 Assignment 3- Jamie Aciukewicz

Connection between Sontag and Gourevitch

I think that these two distinct texts tie in well together. Both examine the role of the outside onlooker, and the absence of action after witnessing atrocities. Sontag focuses more on the role of the individual, pushing people to question their own involvement or lack thereof, after viewing horrific images. She also talks about censorship in images, which usually favors the familiar to us. For example, photos of war that the United States participates in is usually much less gruesome, not depicting the dead or even much blood. However, on the contrary, photos of others tend to focus heavily on these things. Gourevitch focuses more on the role of the collective, the United States, the UN, and France. Despite adopting the genocide convention, designed to stop future Genocides, these groups played a crucial role in allowing the genocide to occur in Rwanda, acting as innocent bystanders in order to “protect” their own troops. The delayed response from nations with power not only enabled a genocide to be carried out but also gave the perpetrators the opportunity to twist the situation to where they became the victims. Once they were victims, world organizations were very quick to help and send support.