We Are Your Sisters Analysis

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In the reading from We Are Your Sisters: Black Women in the Nineteenth Century, Dorothy Sterling explores the many experiences of mainly African American women during the period of the Reconstruction era. Sterling states “whites put aside random acts of violence in favor of organized terror.” She focuses a lot on those experiences that involves the Ku Klux Klan (who were the organization responsible for these organized terror) and in a way, it seems fair because they were the main perpetrators of hate crimes against the African American community.

The first few examples provided in the reading offer accounts of African American women whose husbands are often targets of the Ku Klux Klan because they were politicians or high-profile radicals in the South. African American families during that time are often being torned apart with the women of the household widowed because the husbands were murdered. An example of such cases is Joe Johnson’s wife, where “white men saw him and shot him and he died and leaves [the wife], a poor widow with a housefull of children, and no one
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I find that this example highlights the fact that while women had far less political power in society during the nineteenth century, the least the law could do was to protect the sexual integrity of women; However, African American women suffered from racial, gender and class discrimination that makes it difficult for them to prosecute those that sexually assault them. Furthermore, anger of white men were usually taken out on the wives of freed African American men and usually in the form of sexual assaults and this made the situation for African American women
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