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N. Warren Town and County News
Norwalk, Iowa
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April 17, 2014     N. Warren Town and County News
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April 17, 2014
 

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Page Ten . N/Warren Town and County News Thursday, April 17, 2014 During February, some 6th and 7th grade classes at Norwalk Middle. School read Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor. Students learned about rebuild- ing the United States following the Recoixstruction Era. Specifical135 they learned about life in the South during the 1930s. They read and discussed primary documents on topics such as the Jim Crow Laws, segregation, share- cropping, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War and the courtcase of Plessy vs Ferguson. After com- pleting the novel and articles, students wrote an essay in which they analyzed and compared the intent and the reality of the time period as well as how Mildred Taylor depicted this within her novel. The following essay are a few from Janna Brown's English classroom. Reconstruction Era~1930s History vs. Reality By Eva Newland How were African Americans treated after the Civil War? How did racism and sharecropping begin? Why did it take so long for African Americans to be treated nicely? It all comes down to important historical docu- ments. Most important documents containing the rights of African Americans have major flaws which prolonged racism. In this essay you will read about the Emancipa- tion Proclamation and the Reconstruction Era and how they had an intended outcome and an actual outcome. You will also read about how Mildred Taylor portrayed this time,period in her novel Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. Now racism seems like a thing of the past. But it wasn't always like that. Many important historical documents have an in- tended outcome and an actual outcome. One example is the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation was designed to free all slaves. The in- tended effect was to end slavery in the United States. This did end up happening, but not very efficiently. Even though documents were designed to help African Americans, some of the documents made things worse. Another example would be the Reconstruction Era. Many people don't know what the Reconstruction Era was. The Reconstruction Era was the time after the Civil , War when the North tried to reunite with the South. On "their terms of course. Reconstruction took place pretty much right after the war. It lasted from 1862 to 1877. The end of slavery introduced a newtype of sla;cery: sharecropping. This type of slavery was specifically designed to help white people and beat down African Americans. Sharecropping forced African Americans tp work a white man's land using their own money. This pushed them so far into debt that it was practically im- possible to get out. Yet another example is the separate but equal law. These are referred to as Jim Crow laws. They were de- signed to separate blacks from Whites, but have the same equality. But, as in many things, this was not the case. The historical reality was really quite different than intended outcome. The South tried as hard as they could to get around the North's rules. Slavery did end, but African Americans were still treated poorly. Separate but not equal prevented African Americans from hav- ing high quality books, transportation and almost any- thing worthwhile. They were killed for no reason at all and whife law officials turned away. What's oneblack man, more or less? And the Emancipation proclama- tion? It wasn't too perfect either. This document had a few flaws. For one, it only applied to the states that se- ceded from the Union. The words Lincoln used were "any state in which is in rebellion against the United States" (page 1). It worked at the time, but it would have some effects later. Not the most practical move on Lincoln's part. Not all of the states that believed in sla- very seceded from the Union. There were the border states to take into account. The border states were the states who, naturally, bordered the North and South. It is understandable that Lincoln wanted to take the im- mediate prol lem awa35 but, as I said earlier, it would have effects later. As you can see, historicaldocuments often had a much different result than what was in- tended. Praised author, Mildred Taylor, does an excellent job in portraying history through her books. She describes segregation in its worst. The night riders and racism are masterfully portrayed. Through the eyes of a child, Cassie, it seems even more wrong. It makes you won- der, why the government didn't step in. African Ameri- can men, women and children were beat up, blamed for everything and even killed because of the color of their skin. As Jim Lee Barnett, a character in the story puts it, "Well you just get your little black self back over there and wait some more"(Taylor, p 111). White people came first in every situation. Taylor really shows how deep racism runs in the veins of the South. This isn't really during the Reconstruction Eta, but not much hhs changed. White people still came first. To top it off, the 6th and 7th Grade English Great Depression was happening at the same time. Af- rican Americans had no chance at anything for a.long time. African Americans faced, many challenges in getting their rights. The Reconstruction Era and the Emancipa- tion Proclamation helped and hurt the African Ameri- can race. It took a long time for everyone to even ac- knowledge African Americans as people and there are still some people today who disagree with the rights of .African Americans. Now almost everyone is treated fairly. Even though African Americans have rights, it may take another 100 years for everyone to acknowl- edge them. Reconstruction Era By Tarynn Rodman The Reconstruction Era had many effects, good and bad, on the states. The Reconstruction Era and all the events leading up to'the 1930s were very important, al- though these events didn't get rid of or abandon the feel- ings of racism. Slavery and mistreatment of black people was a big problem in the 1900s and it didn't truly end until the Civil Rights Act of !964. Even though the Re- construction Era didn't make all people totally equal, it contributed a ton in the leap of making all people equal and free. The Reconstruction Era was important because of historical intent, historical reality and the treatment of different races. The historical reality was very different from histori- upon it" (Taylor, p 24). This act of Little Man shows that black people were not very happy about how they were treated. Another event that shows that people of white race didn't appreciate people of black race was when" the night riders come and stopped at Cassie's house. This shows that the white people didn't like the black people and they wanted to get rid of them. One more event that Mildred Taylor put in her book that really depicts what happened during that time period is share- cropping. She describes how Cassie anct her family are very lucky that they have their own piece of land, be- cause many black families are sharecroppers and grow cotton for their owners and don't make much money. She describes that sharecropping is very cruel to its people and that the people who sharecrop have very little rights. I believe that Mildred Taylor does a fantas- tic job of explaining what happens in that time period throughout her book. The Reconstruction Era was a very important time in the world and it helped to get rid of slavery. The intent of the Reconstruction Era was to end slavery and to make all people equal. However, hhe reality was very differ- ent. What really happened was that black people were free and had their own bathrooms, drinking fountains, restaurants and political rights, but they didn't have their own social rights and the feelings Of racism were still in the air. The races weren't reaUy treated equally'until 1964 when the Civil Rights Movement took place. The Re- construction Era gave people some hope that the world cal intent. The original purpose of the Reconstruction would one day change! People learned to never give up Era, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Jim Crow and fight for their rights. laws was to make all people free and give everybody their own rights. The Emancipation Proclamation was made to abolish, or get rid of slavery. This was supposed to get rid of the practice of sharecropping and make everybody free and have equal rights. The newly freed citizens hoped to stay free and independent. They hoped that these government initiatives would allow them to make their own decision and act upon themselves. The Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry By Laura Stefan Black people and white people are equal now, but it was not always this way. In the time period of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, black people were considered less important than white people. They had fewer rights than white people. They had to wait Jim Crow laws were made to make all people separate for white people to go first before they did anything but equal. However, these laws and rules didn't apply to all states at the time. The original purpose behind freeing slaves was to give ALL people the freedom and rights they wished to have. People hoped that their 13th and 14th amendment rights would be protected and and they were treated basically like slaves. In this pa- per, you will read about the original purposes of the Emancipation Proclamation within the Reconstruction Era, the reality of the Emancipation Proclamation within the Reconstruction Era, and whether or not Mildred D. abided by. "It was intended to enforce the absolute Taylor depicted the time period of Roll of Thunder, Hear equality of the two races before the law, but it was in- My Cry. tended to abolish distinctions "based upon color .... " ( The original purpose of the Emancipation Proclama- Plessy vs. Ferguson-Case Brief Summary). This is stated tion was to end segregation. Slaves still in rebellion as in the 13th and 14th amendments to protect black's of January 1, 1863, would befreed (Lincoln). Slavery rights, did not completely end due to the Emancipation Proc- The historical reality was nothing like the historical lamation, but it was reduced. The reason for freeing intent! The reality of the Reconstruction era was that all slaves was to inspire all black people. The majority of people had their own rights but were definitely not slaves were black in the time period of segregation, so equal. For example, both races had their own bathrooms, this offered great hope to the black people. "Initially, buses, drinking fountains and restaurants, but black people were still treated unfairly and unequally. All races had their political rights but not their social rights. That meant that black people and African Americans were able to vote and have their say in the government, but they did not have social rights. In the Plessy vs. Ferguson case, Pless a black man went into an all white car and wouldn't go to his colored car. Since he was "black, he didn't have social rights and sitting in an all the Civil War between North and South was fought by the North to prevent the secession of the Southern states and preserve the Union" (Lincoln, p-l). The Reconstruc- tion Era was supposed to make blacks equal to whites. "The goal of Reconstruction was to readmit the South on terms that were acceptable to the North - full politi- cal and civil equality for blacks and a denial of the po- litical rights of whites who were the leaders of the suc- cession movement" (Wormser, p 1), white car is considered a social right. "Laws permitting "The Reconstruction Era had flaws. "Yet Congress and even requiring their separation in places where they failed to secure land for blacks, thus allowing whites to are liable to be brought into contact do not necessarily imply the inferiority of either race"(Plessy vs. Ferguson- Case Brief Summary 13). Plessy was taken to court for this act and was found guilty. Even after the Reconstruc- tion Era, blacks still only had some rights. Evea though they had those rights, they still were not thought of as highly or as equal as whites. I believe that Mildred Taylor did depict an accurate portrayal of the time period. She told how black people economically control blacks" (Wormser, p 1). Black people were not considered equal and they still had fewer rights than white people. "But as blacks slowly progressed, white Southerners resented their achieve- ments and their empowerment, even though they were in a political minority in every state but South Caro- lina" (Wormser, p 1). Most white southerners did not agree with the new rights black people had, so the new laws could be easily overpowered if they were to team were not equal and definitely not thought of as high as up. white people were. She used events in her story that The author did show the time period accurately. Black would have happened in the time period. Mildred Tay- people were treated badly. They did not go to school as lor used many examples about what it would have been long, and they were given second hand bopks after the like to live in the south in the 1900s. When Cassi'e was white people had been using them for many years. All in Strawberry with Big Ma and her siblings, she showed the books were in horrible condition. Little Man was so that blacks were not equal and not as important as whites angry. Cassie looked at the inside cover of her book and when Cassie was trying to get Mr. Barnett to serve her saw what made Little Man so mad. There was a chart. It and her brothers and sisters before white people. Mr. showed the condition of the book, and the condition Barnett said, "Well you just get your little black self was very poor. The race of the student switched from back over there and wait some more," (Taylor, p 111). white to black (Taylor). Most black families had to share- She described this well by showing that Mr. Barnett crop, which is part of the reason why the black children thought that white people were more important than did not go to school as long as the white families. The Cassie and her family. Another incident that shows.what children had to help with the work. Sharecropping fami- happened during that time period and how people may lies were in debt. Black people did have to treat the white have reacted was when Little Man received a book in people way better than the white people had to treat school that showed that the "negro," as the book referred the black people. There were severe punishments for a to the blacks, received the lowest quality books. " [Little Man] flung the book onto the floor and stomped madly Concluded p. 11 t...