Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ms. O'Connell's class on Tuesday made me really appreciate yet another strong, confident, and influential woman of our history. The three reasons OC shared for loving this woman all seemed to tie into these characteristics of being strong and confident, but also compassionate. She didn't simply do the things she did to get credit and fame for herself, in fact in her time she was more likely to get thrown in jail. All that she did was for the benefit of others and the progression of society. This is incredibly admirable and a mindset that I think all feminists should aspire to achieve--it is not just about you.

Another point from the presentation and reason for respecting this woman that struck me was that while all others hailed Booker T. Washington as a true leader for African Americans, even if they disagreed with some or all of his philosophy, she stood against him. Even though it cost her her position with the NAACP, she felt strongly enough and was confident enough to voice her opinion even though it was casting one of her own race that had worked hard to become well-regarded in a negative light. She overlooked all labels and regarded each person equally--not caring who was supposed to be her ally or enemy, she simply had her own thoughts and wanted them heard.

From the reading, we can see this compassion and confidence as well. She states at one point that "the South is shielding itself behind the plausible screen of defending the honor of its women". She is never afraid to state the ugly truth about the situation, as does this again when stating, "it is not the crime but the class. Bishop Fitzgerald has become apologist for lynchers of the rapists of white women only". These are harsh truths about her society that most would not prefer to read and would object to at the time. While knowing this, Ida B. Wells still expressed herself honestly and in a way that she believed would help point out the issues of society for others to accept as problems and reasons for change.

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