The Civil Rights Movement of African American Women

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In the book “For Freedom’s Sake,” the main agenda was about the civil rights of workers. The author addressed the plight of African American women in their places of work. Chana felt that the type of treatment given to the women was not welcoming, and therefore, used this book to campaign for the civil rights of workers. The book further highlights issues regarding the civil rights movements in the United States in the twentieth century, which came to offer solutions to the problems that the African American women faced in the hands of their employers (Lee 31). Chana addressed the issues in her book by highlighting the life of an African American woman named Fannie Lou Hamer.  The book “Heirs to a Legacy Struggle” also highlights the struggle of the African American women in the civil rights movements involving the black people. The authors provided insights into the civil rights activities of the African American women and their organizations (Franklin 53). As such, the main agenda in the book was the activities of the women organizations that addressed the oppression African American women in particular, and the entire race in general. The same case happens with the book “Sisters in Struggle,” where the author Dorothy Height’s main point was the unity of the oppressed African American women and their call for freedom and the restoration of their human dignity. Dorothy noted that the Black women held a match in Washington in 1963, as a way of expressing their grievances to the relevant authorities. In “Mississippi Goddam,” Nina Simone uses the lyrics to air the grievances of the oppressed slaves and states that they can no longer withstand the amount of pressure. Her main point was to address people who should see and hear the cries of the enslaved women, and do something to save the situation. Her concern is freedom.

Several other authors wrote works that address the issue of female slaves. Deborah White, in her book “Ar’n’t I a Woman?” wrote an analysis of the lives of the slaves in the Southern American plantations. As compared to the other authors as earlier analyzed, Deborah goes straight to the point and brings the readers to the attention to the daily lives of slaves in the plantation. Her approach is precise and direct to the point, as opposed to the other authors who gave generalized accounts of civil rights movements involving women. In her anthropology entitled “Words of Fire,” Dr. Beverly gives an account of the writings of African American women writers who address the issue of African American feminism in details. Again, as opposed to the other authors who talked about the civil rights of African American slaves, Dr. Beverly collected articles that mainly addressed the plight of slaves and issues of their feminism. In the same way, Tera Hunter in her work “To ‘Joy my Freedom” focused on an important concept- the migration of the slaves to Atlanta at the end of the Civil War, to make new livelihoods away from the distressing memories of their slavery life. Hunter focused on the journey of the women to various places as free domestic workers, under the employment of their previous slave masters. Therefore, the authors Chana, Nina, and Gault address a general issue about civil rights. On the contrary, other authors such as Deborah, Beverly, and Tera each take a specific line of flow and form the foundation of their write-ups.

Chana’s argument is useful in the sense that it informs the reader about the plight of the women slaves and their tribulations in the hands of those who held them. The same case applies to Charlayne Hunter-Gault, as she narrated the decision of the women to participate in a walk to Washington, to try and make their voices heard and probably get some assistance. Her approach to the matter makes the readers create a mental picture of the things that these women went through, and the extent of their sufferings up to deciding to seek redress from the central government.

However, Nina Simone proves to have more compelling arguments as opposed to her two comrades, Chana and Charlayne Hunter-Gault. In her lyrics about Mississippi Goddam, she begins with an assurance to the audience that her words in the song are correct, and that she means every word. She then started her song by naming some states, which the reader should figure out their relevance in the song. After that, she hits her main point regarding the oppression of the female slaves. She stated that they could not withstand the abuse anymore, and it was the right time for a change in the manner of doing things (Simone 1). Her song further contains a captivating element, where she keeps repeating the words “do it slowly.” These words tend to have a hidden meaning, and the audience would require thinking deeper to get the meaning. Finally, Nina ends the song with a prayer to God to bless their land. Her choice of singing as a way of communicating her ideas is not only captivating but also entertaining at the same time.

Works Cited

Lee, Chana K. For Freedoms Sake - the Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. University Of Illinois Press, 2000. Print.

Simone, Nina. Mississippi Goddam Lyrics. 1964.

Franklin, V P, and V P. Franklin. Sisters in the Struggle - African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black. , 2001. Print.

November 13, 2023
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