Instructions: Compose a brief essay of at least 400 words but no more than 600 words (not including your references list) on the following topic, referring to and critiquing relevant ideas from at least three of the Week 7 readings as you develop your thoughts:
In a conversation, a friend says to you that the reading of the history and literature of race relations in America is no longer necessary since everyone enjoys equal rights and opportunities today. Having immersed yourself in this history and literature this week, would you agree or disagree with your friend, and why? Reference at least 3 of the readings and make sure to also add in your own ideas and why.
History is marked with many great events and life changing occurrences that were pioneered by those who chose to be brave and take a step towards what was unfamiliar and unacceptable to the society that wanted to maintain a certain status quo. Slavery in America is one of the major and sensitive issues that have been addressed but the figures who helped shape history noting that one race was affected in particular in comparison to others (Morra & Zinn, 1991). The life of Frederick Douglass is an example of historical moments and figures, which help shape the face of the nation. It also shifted the course of direction in regards to slavery. The narrative reveals the life of American slaves. He was born in slavery in Maryland as a house servant where he acquired his reading and writing skills. He managed to escape from slavery and left for New York where he settled with a woman from a different race. In the year 1841, he gave a speech in a convention addressing the issue of slavery, which led to him securing a position in the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. He became an orator who was very impressive, which made many doubt whether he has been a slave in the past. He fought for slaves to be emancipated and was actively involved in helping to protect and secure the right of the men who had received freedom after war (“Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”, 2014). His story is by far inspirational and a clear show of how the worst experiences in life can shape someone to become a source of change to the rest of the community. Experiences shape greatness but it is determinant on how people chose to use the experiences. In Frederick Douglass’ case, he chose to use his past as starting point to help others since he had a clear understanding of the plight of those who were enslaved. He empowered many and protected many freedmen and his story remains to be a mark of his great work in that era.
The declaration of sentiments by Elizabeth Cady Stanton is yet another example of statements and figures in the past that have one way or the other shaped the history of the nation. In the declaration, she represents the plight of the woman and pushes for equality of genders. She states that all women and men are equal and that the person who created them with certain rights, which include liberty the pursuit of happiness and liberty, endows them. For these rights to be secured governments are instituted and given the mandate to protect these rights and freedom. Therefore, in the event that the chosen governments do not perform their expected roles and responsibilities the people who the governments are meant to represent should then insist for a change in the institution based on the foundation and principles on which it is meant to stand upon and operate under. Elizabeth goes further to state that humans are subjected to experiencing some form of suffering in one way or another people should not allow them to constantly suffer from abuse and lack of prudence and should thus seek to remove a government that provides the opportunity and grounds for the people to suffer in such a manner. She states that history is marked with repeated usurpations and abuse mostly towards women. The woman has been depraved of the right to speak, own property, vote and in the eyes of the law the woman is inferior to the man (“Elizabeth Cady Stanton: an American life”, 2010). In conclusion, Elizabeth addresses injustices that are spearheaded by the government mostly towards the woman, which was a true reflection of what was happening in that era.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton: an American life. (2010). Choice Reviews Online, 47(06), 47-3366-47-3366. http://dx.doi.org/10.5860/choice.47-3366
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. (2014). Tikkun, 29(1), 73-73. http://dx.doi.org/10.1215/08879982-2394606
Morra, S. & Zinn, H. (1991). A People’s History of the United States. TESOL Quarterly, 25(1), 169. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3587040