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Name: Anh Nguyen
AFA HW 15 - Nov. 29th
● Page 652 # 3: What has been the impact of Black American women—both
during the slavery period and thereafter—on the uplift of the Black
Women in America did not gain voting rights up until the 1920s (woman
suffrage) and even then, it was given to them by white males. Throughout history,
women have been the oppressed class, “Silent but resilient” one would say,
contributing to the society and providing the backbone of the society’s well-being,
ruled and governed by men. Black women traditionally enjoyed human rights, that
is, until Europeans enslaved them and took everything away in the 14th century.
So to put it into perspective, not only they were enslaved, rejected human
rights, they were also women (oppressed class), they were, indeed, the lowest of
the low by law (in America) until the 1960s (Black power movement). They are
resilient, endured and resisted centuries of captivity and enslavement by white
society, were exploited, segregated, beaten up, and abused throughout America's
history. Nonetheless, they amounted to great contributions of black and the
general communities. Many works and books recited the intensive labor and
resilience of black women in Antebellum America, “double-duty day” is an example.
It means that Black women toiled under the grueling demands of white settlers all
day, then did what kept themselves at night, taking care of their family, children,
and elders (Africana Studies, 2020). It was established that Black women were
sexual preys, and their children followed the status of the mother (born as “slaves”)
instead of their English/White fatherhood, we cannot begin to fathom the
miscarriages and health problems faced by Black women, being worked dawn to
dusk, all day everyday.
During enslavement, Black women lived in two worlds: captivity and
exploitation by white settlers, and closed quarter in the “slave” plantation. They
carried with them cultural values, structures and customs that Black mothers
shaped their children. For example, in a book by Dr. Gutman, Black mothers in
southern plantations (of different locales) traced their descent by naming their
children in a specific pattern, West African names and lineage. Such naming
customs sustained meaningful beliefs, values and responsibilities, and most
importantly, it proved that America wasn’t and will not be a “melting pot” as often
depicted, because children of African descent did not emulate white settlers values
and beliefs (The black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925). Furthermore,
thanks to such close quarter unions, Black women taught themselves to read
(denied by owners), and thus taught their children to read and write.
After the American civil war, freed, educated Black women immediately
assisted and worked to provide for millions of “now-freed” black folks, poor and
mostly illiterate, a large number of freed Black women worked as school teachers,
nurses, missionaries. Once again, Black women had little room to provide for
themselves upon freedom, but to provide for their communities, elders and
children, they worked hard (presumably not as hard as chattel slavery). They
formed unions and organizations, with agendas and funds to aid and support their
people in the diaspora. Even in the face of the KKK (Ku Klux Klan), they fought
hard. Williams in “They Left Great Marks on Me:” Black women entailed recounts
of violence they experienced from Emancipation (Civil war) to World war I. Black
women were not scared in the face of hardship and systematic racism, but rather
spoke against it and fought for their freedom and civil rights.
● Page 694 # 2: Compare and contrast the myth of the Doctrine of Discovery to
the realities of the conquest.Page 694 # 6 Give concrete examples of how
Romanus Pontifex had a lasting impact on the modern world, particularly on
Africa and the African diaspora.
The Doctrine of Discovery by Porguese and papal bull Romanus Pontifex by
Pope Nicholas V were fabricated and premeditated religious, spiritual, political and
economic order for Christianity’s domination over Africa’s values and beliefs. The
Doctrine of Discovery implies that no other socities had sailed the seas to find new
lands and that the lands were uninhabited (false and false). What happened was,
during the Age of “Disovery”, Portugal ordered crusades against Nothern Africa
(Beazley, 1910). The crusades were in the name of God, and also of profit allowed
Portugal to conceal the fact that such land was inhabited by other ethnicities and
societies (Jewish, Africans, Indians and Muslims). The Doctrine of Discovery merely
existed as an excuse for the conquest of Africa, and Romanus Pontifex was a
document that legalized Christiandom’s support for the conquest against infidels
(whoever aren’t white and christian are infidels) and supported enslavement and
dispossesion of Africans and other societies around the world (Africana Studies,
The text, Romanus Pontifex was specifically detrimental to Africa and its
daughter, serving as the archetype for European religious entitlement and secular
authority in Africa in the 19th century through distorted and racist narratives. The
text supported Eurocentric views of the world, specifically Africa. It was a radical
exclusion of the people of the land. The text stemmed from racism and lust for
power from the Pope and Europeans, thus rejecting the beliefs, values, arts of
Africa, denial of human rights and allowing Europeans to enslave and conquer
Africa. We have established that Africans were viewed as the “Subordinate race” of
lower class and “boorish”, thus Europeans were simply “correcting” their behavior,
or “teaching” them the humanity of Europe.
With that in mind, the text and the doctrine of discovery greatly influenced
the ideologies and how people around the world perceived Africans, justifying
European’s cruelty towards African and halting Africa’s development.