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N. Warren Town and County News
Norwalk, Iowa
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April 24, 2014     N. Warren Town and County News
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Page Twelve N/Warren Town and County News Thursday, April 24, 2014 6th and Grade Middle School Essays 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 Reconstruction Era. Specificall they learned about life e South during the 1930's. 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 court case 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 essays are a few from Stephanie Brown's English class- room. Lily Quade Abbie Davitt Joslyn Sperry History Vs. Reality By Lily Quade What stopped slavery? What horrible things did white people do to black citizens? Wliat was the Recon- struction Era? Whites treated black people very poorly during the Reconstruction Era. This essay will portray the intention of the Reconstruction Era, what the reality was, and how well Mildred Taylor depicted what it was like in that time period. The Reconstruction Era was a time period after slavery ended and segregation started. White citizens still didn't treat black populations fairly and were separated. The original purpose of Reconstruction and the Emancipation Proclamation was to be separated, but equal; and to abolish slavery. The Emancipation Procla- mation was signed by Abraham Lincoln. He believed that black people should be freed, and not held in sla- very. The proclamation stated that, 'SM1 persons held as slaves are, and henceforward shall be free" (Lincoln, 1863/pl). This demonstrates that Lincoln wanted all slaves to be free and equal to whites. People created Jim Crow laws that were meant to be separate, but equal. Things like water fountains, public transportation, pub- lic buildings, restaurants, and schools were separated. The goal was that black and white people would be sepa- rated, but equal. This meant that they would be sepa- rated, or parted away from each other, but the quality of their services would be equal. Amendments were made to support black people. There was a 13th and 14th amendment made. The 13th amendment was made to free former slaves and abolish slavery. The 14th was made to enforce the law, separate, but equal. It banned the action of not enforcing new, unfair laws upon the black populations. "It was intended to enforce the ab- solute equality of the two races before the law, but it was intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either" (Plessy Vs. Ferguson,1896). This supports that the equality of blacks and whites came before the law. The intention of the Emancipation Proclamation and Reconstruction was to abolish slavery, making the law; separated, but equal. The historical intention of the Reconstruction Era was not the reality. The law, separate but equal was not ful- tilled. The Jim Crow laws were not equal, because the black's services were bad quality compared to the white's services. The white's water fountains, public transpor- tation, restaurants, public buildings, and schools were all better than the black's. This didn't fulfill the inten- tion because the intention was that the two races would be equal, and they were not. In the court case Plessy Vs. Ferguson, Plessy was black, and he didn't have fair odds. He lost when Ferguson, the judge, didn't go with the 13th and 14th amendments, Plessy filed for a retrial be- cause Ferguson didn't do it correctl but he lost it be- cause the odds weren't in his favor. Ferguson had gone against the amendments, but Plessy lost because the court was" against him. In reality, the 13th and 14th amendments weren't fulfilled. They were killed, tor- tured, and they were hated by whites. "Jim Crow laws were designed to separate blacks and whites- separate schools, public buildings, public transportation, restau- rants, even water fountains" (Crow, 1896, pl). This sup- ports that white people resented black citizens, and the saying separated but equal wasn't completed. The ser- vices that the blacks received wasn't equal to the white population that received them as well. The Emancipa- tion Proclamation wasr't fulfilled because Abraham Lin- coln didn't put all of the states in the US on the list. Some states had slavery, and very high segregation. There were groups of people called the nightriders that killed and tortured black people. They would attack a family if people in the town complained that the family was doing something bad. Some of the things that the night riders did to blacks were called lynchings. That was when they burned, hung, or killed black families for no apparent reason. The black people feared the nightriders highly, and theyspread lots of fear among them. It wasn't fair how the black people got money and land. Landowners hired black families to sharecrop by planting and harvesting cotton for them. The fami- lies were forced to repay the landowner a certain amount of the cotton that they harvestecL They had to pay for most of the suppliers, and the landowners almost al- ways kept the black families in debt. This wasn't fair because the families barely survived with the house that they had, and the minimal food that they got. Black people weren't treated fairly at all during the Recon- struction Era. Mildred D. Taylor depicted a very accurate portrayal of the time period. She included the nightriders, lynch- ings, sharecroppers, segregation, and unfair judgrhenf of the black population. Mildred Taylor explained what it was like for a black person in that time period very thoroughly. When the white bus splashed the children with mud, she described how they felt very accurately. She showed that back then, most white people hated black citizens, and treated them very harshly. A quote from the book to support this is "Little Man, chest deep in water, scooped up a handful of and in an uncontrol- lable rage scrambled up to the road and ran after the retreating bus'(Taylor, p 48). Mildred included share- cropping when the L0gans do the boycott on the Wallace Store. When Mr. Avery and Mr. Lanier said that they couldn't do the boycott anymore, they explained that Mr. Granger raised the percentage of their pay in cotton to 60 percent instead of 50. "Mr. Granger making it hard on us, David. Said we gonna have to give him sixty per- cent of the cotton, "stead of fifty.., now that the cotton's planted and it's too late to plant more... Don't suppose thought that it makes much difference" (Taylor, p 203). This shows that times weren't fair for the black citizens in the Reconstruction Era because if they were share- croppers, they weren't treated fairly. Mildred Taylor explains that the night riders were a big fear of the black population back then by showing Cassie's fear when they come to her house at night, A line from the book to show Cassie's fear is, "Once inside the house, I leaned against the latch while waves of sick terror swept over me" ( Taylor, 68). In the book, Mildred Taylor describes lynchings very well. She describes them as burnings, hangings, and torture that the white people enforced on the black population. She says that they were feared very highly throughout the black population. Mildred D. Taylor depicted what it was like during the Recon- struction Era very well in her book. "Not only were blacks barred from 'white only' places, black people were expected to defer to white citi- zens regardless of any differences in education or fi- nancial status" (Secondary Solutions, 12). Black citizens were treated very crudely by whites during the Recon- struction Era. The Reconstruction Era was the time pe- riod that white people were racist, but it was better than the time period of slavery and the 1860s. People hurt, killed, and tortured blacks; it was a bad time for the US. The Reconstruction Era was a hard time for black people, and it hurt many of them. Reconstruction Era- History vs. Reality By Abbie Davitt The Reconstruction Era was supposed to be a time when slaves would be accepted as equal, but in reality, it was a time of destruction and misery. The slaves were supposed to be "equal" were actually hurt, tricked and treated badly. The Emancipation Proclamation was writ- ten during the Civil War. This was about the time the Reconstruction Era began. Abraham Lincoln, the author, hoped that once the war was over, everyone would be treated equally, but that's not what happened. In the following essay, you will read about the intended his- tory, the reality of history, and the accurate portrayal that Mildred D. Taylor demonstrates in her novel (Roll o/Thunder Hear My Cry). The purpose of the Emancipation Proclamation was to end slavery in the Confederacy. "And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do o.rder and declare that all persons held as slaves within said des- ignated states, and parts of states, are, henceforward shall be free..." (Lincoln, 1). Those were the words that Abraham Lincoln wrote declaring that all blacks in the Union free. He hoped that the. document would inspire blacks. he Emancipation Proclamation was made dur- ing the Civil War and changed the goal of the war. Sla- very was abolished during the war, but only for some states. If the state wasn't in the Uniorl, the slaves weren't free.., yet. Therefore, the Emancipation Proclamation didn't completely end slavery. It only ended it partially. The newly freed citizens hoped to be truly free and in control of their own lives. They hoped to have their own land and be treated fair. But that didn't happen. The original purpose behind freeing slaves wasn't to have everyone equal, but so the slaves from the Confederacy would join the North and help with the war. Abraham Lincoln hoped to inspire free slaves to join the Union army and help the North Win the Civil War (ourdocuments.gov, 1). The North wanted to with the war very badly and slaves could help them. The slaves could only fight in the army if they were free, so the North freed the slaves. The reality of the Reconstruction Era was much dif- ferent than the intended purpose. People may have been free, but they were still treated badly. Whites still wanted slavery, so they developed sharecropping; which was the closest thing to slavery in their time. In sharecrop- ping, blacks would work on a white man's land in ex- change for a place to live, supplies needed, and food. Sharecroppers would have to produce a certain amount of crops and then pay back the money for supplies and food. The landowners might even own a store that re- quired the sharecroppers help. Most of the time, blacks never got out of their contract and the next generation of their family would have to work off the debt. They also were given unfair amounts to meet and were treated very badly. "All ditches turn rows bridges, fences, etc. on said land shall be kept in proper condition by said Dawson, or at his expense" (a sharecropper contract, 1). This shows you some of the unfair things in con- tracts. People often killed Or hurt blacks for the simplest reasons. The Reconstruction Era was supposed to make everyone be treated fairly, but in reality, blacks were still treated badly. Mildred D. Taylor did do a great job at showing an accurate portrayal of the time period after the Recon- s-truction Era. In Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, a black man "flirted" with a white woman. Guess what the white men did? They burned him. The white men that did these things were called night riders. The night rid- ers almost never got in trouble because they were white and were hurting black. She gave examples of the "sepa- rate but equal" laws and really gave you an idea of what went on during this time period. One example she gave is how the black students get 10 year old, dirty text- books, while the white students got the new ones. The Logan kids couldn't understand wly this happened. Little man was so upset that he threw the book on the ground and wouldn't pick it up (Taylor, 15). This should give you a visual on how worn the books were. The black students, like the white kids, got textbooks, but they weren't equal in quality. This was an example of the sepa- rate but equal laws. Mildred D. Taylor also included a scene where the Logan's friend T.J. was falsely accused of murder and was hurt by the night riders. Even though he didn't do it, because he was black, he got punished. "All I can say Cassie girl, is that it shouldn't be" (Taylor, 173). Everyone knew things weren't fair, but because he was black and the criminals were white, he was pun- ished instead of them. Mildred D. Taylor does a great job giving us an accurate idea of the Reconstruction Era through all of the situations in her book. The Reconstruction Era was supposed to be a time where everyone would be looked at as equal, but in- stead it was a time of destruction and misery. The black slaves that were freed were far from free. Instead of treat- ing them fair, the white people hurt, killed, tricked, and treated the freed slaves very badly. The essay you just read should've explained to you the intended history, the reali of it all, and the portrayal that Mildred D. Taylor demonstrated in her book Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry. Abraham Lincoln intended for the Emancipa- tion Proclamation to make everyone equal and be treated equally. But as you know, the reality is always different than the intended purpose. 1930's History By Joslyn Sperry People were killed for skin color, harshly punished for nothing at all. Do you remember these times? About 80 years ago, the streets were dangerous, like walking through rattlesnakes always ready to strike. Usually, you couldn't live as an African American withoutgoing into debt by devious sharecropping owners tricking you into contracts that you couldn't read or even sign. You would have to draw an X if you couldn't write. The Emancipa- tion Proclamation only prevented slavery and the Jim Crow Laws only made it worse. Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry, a very accurate book in the time period, portrays the very meaning of fear ,and lose everything; land, rights, and even friends on their dangerous path as Af- rican Americans. The Emancipation Proclamation was meant to bring peace and equality to African Americans. Unfortunately, Concluded p. 13 -i r