“Remarkable independence and courageous self-assertion,” as so eloquently spoken by abolitionist Frederick Douglass of Sojourner Truth (qtd. in Kort). This woman, admired by Douglass and nearly all, lived up to this description throughout her entire life. She embodied many traits that Americans strive to obtain such as faith, strength, and a fearless grasp on justice. Truth didn’t heed anyone else’s orders and refused to accept what a black person or a woman “should be.” Sojourner Truth spent her early life as a slave, born Isabella Hardenbergh, and she worked just as hard as many men (Helmer).
Is it worth risking everything in order to be happy? In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, an African American woman named Janie makes many challenging decisions in order to be happy. This novel takes place in the 1920’s which creates many obstacles that Janie must overcome in order to achieve happiness. There are many stereotypes and inequalities during this time that make life extremely difficult for Janie. Although Janie allows others to mistreat her at points throughout the novel, she is overall an excellent role model for young readers because she overcomes several stereotypes of African American females during this time period, and she makes many difficult decisions based solely on her own happiness.
African American women play significant roles throughout the storyline in the novel A Lesson Before Dying. Two strong and self-sufficient women, Tante Lou, and Miss Emma, impacted the decision men made despite the woman's position in society. As African American women in 1940’s southern society, they were not afraid to push boundaries and speak up for what they believed in. As an example, Jefferson’s lawyer likened his clients execution to that of a hog.
Rising Above Oppression Being different and having fear of rejection is something we all experience at some point. “Still I Rise,” a poem written by Maya Angelou in 1978, expounds the indomitable spirit of African Americans, who have risen from slavery and every kind of humiliation. In it, the writer uses the motif of the image pattern “I Rise” to illustrate the way people have overcome great obstacles and oppression with enduring pride and grace, retaliating against discrimination of races and gender, and offering hope to the readers suffering from the same ordeal. In “Still I Rise,” Angelou speaks not only for herself; in fact, the poem 's scope is not limited to one person but to all the downtrodden individuals.
She carried a cane for effect and was often described as ebony. In class her students called her “Mama Bethune”("Mary McLeod Bethune."). Dr. Robert Weaver said “She had the most marvelous gift of effecting feminine helplessness in order to attain her aims with masculine ruthlessness” ("Mary McLeod Bethune."). She was known as”The first lady of the struggle” ("Mary McLeod Bethune.") because of how committed she was to making African Americans lives easier. She was invited to attend the Child Welfare Conference put together by Calvin Coolidge.
In this Very insightful piece of writing by Deborah James, we learn about a community that is rich and vital in spirit and laughter despite the hardships placed upon them as a result of their race. Within the community a whole range of typical human activities occur that normalize the African American community that many at the time feared and because of the fear they rejected and abused the African American people. The main character in this novel is Janie. Janie is in many ways the protagonist of the novel and leads readers into a detailed synopsis of her life and her experiences as an African American woman who achieves renewal through her ability to resist the definitions of others and her openness to the sometimes-painful process of rebirth. In my opinion this book is sort of an indirect auto biography of Hurston’s Life.
“The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.” (Chief Joseph) The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural, artistic, and social movement of the African American people. Blacks united and grew as one, formed new arts and developed their own culture. Their eyes were watching god is a novel about a young black woman who struggles to find her individuality.
Hurston and Janie both endured oppression during their lives based upon their race and gender however, their strong wills propelled them threw unforeseen obstacle. Zora Neale Hurston was a phenomenal African American woman whom despite her rough childhood would become one of the most profound authors of the century. Throughout her lifetime she was the, “Recipient of two Guggenheims and the author of four novels, a dozen short stories, two musicals, two books on black mythology, dozens of essays, and a prizewinning autobiography” (Gates 4). Hurston had to overcome numerous obstacles because of her gender, economic status, and racial identity. Hurston was born in 1891 in Notasulga, Alabama but grew up in Eatonville, Florida.
Consequently, even he comes to terms with his “invisibility” and decides that it is his responsibility to come back out and become a voice for future generations. Phelan too realizes that she has a responsibility to shed light on the injustices that are taking place in her own community. Instead of disappearing, she stands out and uses her privilege as a high class white woman in the sixties and becomes a voice for the black women who work for women such as herself in rotten conditions: “All my life I’d been told what to believe about politics, coloreds, being a girl. But with Constantine’s thumb pressed in my hand, I realized I actually had a choice in what I could believe.” (Stockett
The negative treatment and pain I received as a black girl, and still into my adulthood, it amazes me how I'm still standing tall and strong. It amazes me how people have tried to break me, even my own kind, but I'm still here. Truth is I gotta to have thick skin and protect myself, because I got no choice. If I don't... who will? And that is the everyday life of living as a black woman.
From the beginning of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou continuously talks about her grandmother, Annie Henderson, as a woman she looks up to and would consider her main mother figure, which is why she calls her Momma. She is described as a hardworking and well viewed black woman in Stamps, for example Momma was addressed as Mrs., “The judge had really made a gaffe calling a Negro woman Mrs…” But this is not the only reason people look up to her; she is also the owner of a successful store, this is a big accomplishment being a black woman which proves to show her hardwork and dedication. Along with being successful in the business world she is also a very religious person with an unshakable faith. She raises Maya and Bailey to be
She regrets going against God’s words, but had to give away her purity in hopes of freedom. In reference to Welter, “Woman must preserve her virtue until marriage and marriage was necessary for her happiness. Yet marriage was, literally, an end to innocence” (Welter, 158). Not being able to live up to what the North had in mind for white womanhood, meant that she was deemed unworthy of happiness just for the fact she tried to free herself by giving up her virtue. Linda Brent was also prevented from the high expectations of preserving her purity due to Dr. Flint pressuring her countless times.
A reverence for the black way of life instilled in her through her upbringing in Florida propelled Hurston towards an illustrious, if tumultuous career, and ultimately, a shining legacy in America. Zora Neale Hurston’s work, her will to succeed, and her confidence in her identity endure and inspire today. Her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is still widely read and studied in classrooms across the United States. Her writing continues to empower people of color, and to challenge the limitations imposed by the generalization of the black experience in literature and media. Hurston’s shining body of work, and her memorable presence left definite marks on the United States, and contributed to the defining movement, The Harlem Renaissance, the legacy of which is still felt in the present