Wednesday, March 4, 2015

         I was especially fascinated with this weeks reading and OC's presentation being that Ida B. Wells was a black woman in women's history. Her significant role gave our class a different perspective compared to the other women we've learned about so far. This time period was difficult for all women speaking out against these issues, but there was more at risk for a black female activist such as Wells due to her race. Her fearlessness and inability to stand by and watch as things she did not support happened, made it clear as to why OC would love her so much. She was not afraid to speak her mind and often did through her journalism, one example being an article she wrote about the lynching of one of her friends. Although Wells was an advocate and fought for women's right to vote, she was often considered a lone wolf because there were so few black women doing the things she was doing while she was doing them. Although she was in the same boat as the other women fighting for the right to vote, after the 15th Amendment was passed, giving black men the right to vote, there was backlash from white women who were upset that black men were given this right before they were. It was situations such as this that separated Wells from the rest. These situations arose due to the overwhelming racism around her being that she was living in the post Civil War era; a fact and struggle that could easily be overlooked by the modern person skimming over what Wells was brave enough to do.
       Aside from the captivating life of Ida B. Wells, it was also interesting to view the cartoons and propaganda created mocking black people. Viewing all the stereotypes that could be made of any race all packaged into one children's cartoon was shocking to say the least. Also shocking was viewing images of the stereotypical black person being made into cookie jars, art, sculptures and other paraphernalia kept in the houses of many families only to be viewed simply as home decor. In addition, learning about Uncle Tom and Mammie and how they miraculously turned into Coon and Jezebel after the Civil War was astonishing. My naive idea that these stereotypes were no longer made, or at least made less in our country, was shattered after viewing the Vogue cover in OC's powerpoint. Although we were unable to confirm nor deny that the cover and war propaganda made by the U.S were related, it was still strange and suspect how similar the two images were.
       Overall, OC's presentation was eye opening. It was great to be able to go into such detail about the stereotypes of black people both pre and post civil war as well as being able to learn more about Ida B. Wells. It is the details we focus on in our Women's studies lectures that separate it from other history classes I've taken and make it more fascinating.

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