Analysis Of Glenda Gilmore 's On Interracial Dynamics

1282 WordsApr 11, 20176 Pages
Analysis of Glenda Gilmore’s Essay on Interracial Dynamics in the Jim Crow Era Glenda Gilmore, in her essay “Forging Interracial Links in the Jim Crow South,” attempts to tackle the charged concepts of feminism and race relations during the infamous Jim Crow era. Her analysis focuses on both the life and character of a black woman named Charlotte Hawkins Brown, a highly influential member of the community of Greensboro, North Carolina. Brown defied the odds given her gender and race and rose to a prominent place in society through carefully calculated interracial relations. Gilmore argues that in rising above what was expected of her as a black woman, Brown was forced to diminish her own struggles as a black woman, and act to placate…show more content…
And so, rather than try to reason with those who thought she was a lesser being, Brown appealed to their egos. She would create stories of helpless uneducated slaves and their white “protectors,” dismissing her heritage to appease whites. By acting “white”, and twisting the beliefs of white supremacists to her benefit, Brown rose to a prominent education position. To gain respect she was forced to give up part of her identity. She rebranded herself as a New Englander to distance herself from slavery. When taking students into the city, they “…did not mingle with Greensboro’s African Americans…” Brown taught her students the ideals she practiced, in hopes that they too might find a reputable place in the Jim Crow South. While attempting to transcend race boundaries, Brown is also forced to lose her femininity. If she showed vulnerability she would no longer be taken seriously by the community. By her nature she could not aspire to be the epitome of white womanhood, as she could not relinquish her place in the community for the sake of a husband or family. Gilmore describes her as a “diplomat,” a servant to the public. Brown’s life was unapologetically public and political, a fundamental difference between her and white women. However, this was not unusual for black women, especially in the South. Post-slavery, black men were unable to find public work, so women needed

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