In Negroland and Fun Home, Margo Jefferson and Alison Bechdel both view their individual lives and identities as interacting with history. However, their perceptions of history differ vastly in that Jefferson identifies herself as both a spectator and player in a giant game of sociocultural history, while Bechdel perceives national history as a tape reeling alongside her life, shaping her worldview but serving as a backdrop amidst her individual life. In Negroland, Jefferson relates to and traces the sociocultural and racial history of Negroes that has shaped her niche in modern society and drastically changed her expectations and perspectives. In contrast, Bechdel does not explicitly cite history as an influential force but rather hints …show more content…
Thus, expectations and conventions are imposed upon members of Negroland, such as Jefferson, so that they embody the privileges that arose over time from a complex and dynamic social hierarchy. For Jefferson, personal and racial histories are heavily interconnected, as denoted when she makes references to various historical and familial figures. Tracing the evolution of this hierarchy through the ages from the Civil War up to the present, Jefferson cites a fellow chronicler of Negroland, Anna Julia Cooper, the daughter of a slave and a slaveholder, a “Black Woman of the South” who criticizes the “masculinist” need to dominate domestically, nationally, and internationally; Cooper’s collective voice for the oppressed parallels Jefferson’s personal concern with race, gender, and class. However, Jefferson also emphasizes the collective Du Boisian “double consciousness” that Negroes in the Talented Tenth and in Negroland must face, thinking about “Them as Us,” forced to dismiss aspirations and professional duties and accept those in lower strata as equals (Jefferson 34). Jefferson undergoes a double consciousness of her own in her childhood as well, when she is forced to conform to expectations due to her status as an upper-class Negro, expectations which force her “to be ambushed by insult and humiliation” even though these expectations are set to prevent errors and
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In “Notes on the State of Virginia”, Thomas Jefferson decrees a few noteworthy notions. Jefferson writes that setting the enslaved people free will be problematic. He suggests that the slaves will never forget the torture, inhuman, and malicious treatment from the white colonizers, and they will seek revenge. This type of ideology is one of the reasons America tends to shy away from making black injustices headliners, or why America relentlessly searches for reasons to discredit a blatant act of violence against black people. It is the fear of Black people’s internalizing the “Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained;” that America (particularly white
African American women have long been stereotyped, discriminated against and generalized in this country. They have had to face both being black in America while also being a woman in America. African American women encountered and still do encounter double discrimination of both sex and race (Cuthbert, 117). Women like Elise Johnson McDougald, Marion Vera Cuthbert and Alice Dunbar-Nelson all tried to shed light on what it was like to be an African American woman living in the 20th century yet literature often portrayed them as emotional, hypersexual, unintelligent and of lesser worth. The literature highlighted that African American women have to serve both their employer and their husbands and families. They are not supposed to have an opinion or stand up for themselves, especially to a white man. ***Concluding sentence?
The article “The Negro Digs Up His Past’’ by Arthur schomburg on 1925, elaborates more on the struggles of slavery as well as how history tend to be in great need of restoration through mindfully exploring on the past. The article, however started with an interesting sentence which caught my attention, especially when the writer says ‘’The American Negro must remark his past in order to make his future’’ (670). This statement according the writer, explains how slavery took away the great deal freedom from people of African descendant, through emancipation and also increase in diversity. The writer (Arthur Schomburg) however, asserts that “the negro has been throughout the centuries of controversy an active collaborator, and often a pioneer, in the struggle for his own freedom and advancement” (670).
The time has come again to celebrate the achievements of all black men and women who have chipped in to form the Black society. There are television programs about the African Queens and Kings who never set sail for America, but are acknowledged as the pillars of our identity. In addition, our black school children finally get to hear about the history of their ancestors instead of hearing about Columbus and the founding of America. The great founding of America briefly includes the slavery period and the Antebellum south, but readily excludes both black men and women, such as George Washington Carver, Langston Hughes, and Mary Bethune. These men and women have contributed greatly to American society.
The film reminds us that “slavery and its aftermath involved the emasculation-physical as well as psychological - of black men, the drive for black power was usually taken to mean a call for black male power, despite the needs of (and often with the complicity of) black women. That continues to result in the devaluing of black female contributions to the liberation struggle and in the subordination of black women in general.”4
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
In the midst of a long passage on black people in his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson (who sniffed that [Phyllis] Wheatley’s poetry was “below the dignity of criticism”) proposed that black inferiority- “in the endowment of both body and mind”- might be an unchangeable law of nature. (181)
In today’s society, many have come to believe what they have been instructed over the years, whether it is fiction of facts. Living in a world, where only certain race can be seen as superior to others. Schomburg was a pioneer beyond his times. In the article “The Negro Digs up His Past”. The beginning of this essay revealed a powerful statement, “The American Negro must remake his past in order to make his future” (Arthur Schomburg). It is very clear, Schomburg realized the importance of being knowledgeable on your true history. “History must restore what slavery took away, for it is the social damage of slavery that the present generations must repair and offset”. Therefore, I acquiesce with such statement, it is up to the present generation to fight, and to aspire on restoring what was taken away. As we acquired more intelligence, today’s generation must continue on indoctrinating one another on our true history. However, let’s not forget, slavery was not the onset of the Negro history; when in fact, slavery interrupted the Negro history. Meanwhile, long ago, before slavery, Africans ruled the world, built nations, mastering in architectural ideas, philosophies, etc. Nonetheless, it is crucial for the Negro to dig up his past, for from it; today’s Africans shall conceive their true potential, and their ancestor’s greatest achievements. Just as Schomburg found his motivation after being told “Negroes has no history. On the other hand, he then stated “The Negro thinking
Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution were historical milestones in which the ever controversial topic of racial equality was first challenged. In theory, these two movements laid the groundwork for a racially equal United States of America. A country in which every member, regardless of skin color, or race were to be treated equally under the eyes of the law and to one day be treated as equals within all realms of society. As historic and powerful as these movements were, they did
Throughout a life that stretched from slavery into her civil rights movement, Anna Julia Cooper defended the rights of all people to dignity, education, and respect. As an educated, competent, independent woman, she faced the double challenge of being African American and female in a society that was deeply racist and sexist, but with confidence and elegance, she challenged society’s assumptions about her. Her life was dedicated to the education of all people, but especially to taking care of the minds of black girls. “Throughout her activist adherence to her ideals, she provided an example of individual excellence rendered incandescent by service to the human community” (Berson, 1994).
The “new” negro no longer embodied “old” characteristics that defined a black man. Society had always taught a black man how to act; however, now he was adapting to the world. Locke declared that ‘the Old Negro’ had long become more of a myth than a man” (Locke, 1). A furthered and detailed definition of an “Old Negro” was that he “was a creature of moral debating historical controversy” (Locke, 1). The four
In her essay “The Fourth of July”, Audre Lorde described the enlighteningly awful experience of the reality of racism she had during her first trip to Washington D.C. as a child. While Lorde’s older sister had been rejected by her high school from traveling with the rest of the graduating class because she was black, Lorde’s parents decided to take a family trip to the nation’s capital on their own to compensate for such an injustice. Nevertheless, the reality of racism and discrimination the family felt while on their trip foiled their attempt to ignore and overcome such oppression, and led Lorde to view the trip as a frustrating experience. By employing this personal anecdote of her family’s replacement graduation trip for her older sister, Lorde successfully conveyed the impossibility of pretending to live in ignorance of racism and discrimination, and powerfully presented her anger at her family, the black community, and all of American society at trying to do so instead of addressing these problems.
In 1925, philosopher and leading black intellectual Alain Locke published the short essay The New Negro. In this essay, Locke describes the contemporary conditions of black Americans, and discusses the trajectory and potential of black culture to affect global change in its historical moment (Locke 47). Locke wrote this essay in the midst of the Harlem Renaissance, a period in which black artists and intellectuals sought to reconceptualize black lives apart from the stereotypes and racist portrayals of prior decades (Hutchinson). The New Negro and the discourse around Locke’s work attempted to push forth a bold project: that of reshaping the cultural identity of black America with respect to the existent structures of American culture, as
Betty Hemings, concubine of John Wayles, and her children, including Sally Hemings, were legally slaves, although the children were majority-white in ancestry (Gordon-Reed, 2008). After Wayles died in 1773, his daughter Martha and her husband Thomas Jefferson inherited the Hemings family among a total of 135 slaves from his estate, as well as 11,000 acres of land (Gordon-Reed, 2008). In 1787, 14-year-old Sally accompanied Jefferson's youngest daughter Polly to London and then to Paris, where the widowed Jefferson had called for her. Sally spent two years there with Jefferson (Gordon-Reed, 2008). Instead of choosing the intimidating option to stay in France alone, Sally Hemings chose to go back with Jefferson into slavery. This decision was a smart decision on her part based off her trust in Jefferson, her possible pregnancy and feelings for Jefferson, and her background. In my discussion of Sally and her decision to go back to America with Jefferson, I will first discuss why and how Sally trusted Jefferson. Then I will consider the possibility of Sally having romantic feelings for Jefferson, especially referencing her pregnancy at the time. I will close my argument with a reminder and
In Margo Jefferson’s Scenes from a life in Negroland, she explores the struggle of one upper-class African American family. This upper class family desires to be treated with the respect a title such as doctor typically entails. As so, they refuse to associate with any negroes they find to be below their status due to their belief that associating with negroes less than their status will debase their family’s upper middle class American status.