Ralph Waldo Emerson Self- reliance (1841)



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Background

  • Born: Sep. 14, 1879, 6th out of 11 children.
  • Sanger believed the reason her mother died at age 50 was because of 18 pregnancies.
  • In 1896 Sanger entered Claverack College and Hudson River Institute, she then attended White Plains Hospital’s nursing program in 1900.
  • Published The Woman Rebel in March of 1914 and was indicted in August of 1914 for obscenity laws because of its urging women to use contraceptives
  • Sanger returned to U.S. to face charges, charges were dropped because 5 yr. old daughter died unexpectedly of pneumonia.
  • In October 1916, first birth control clinic Brownsville, Brooklyn , only to be closed down 9 days later.

Background (cont.)

  • She formed the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control in 1929 in order to lobby for legislation to allow physicians to legally provide women with contraceptives
  • She helped form the International Planned Parenthood Federation in 1952 and served as its first president until 1959.
  • The 1965 Supreme Court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut allowed married couples to legally acquire birth control.
  • Margaret Sanger died on October 6, 1966.
  • Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race (1920).

Main points

  • 1. Birth control is the concrete foundation for improving civilization and diminishing the evils of society.
    • “The creators of over-population are the women, who, while wringing their hands over each fresh horror, submit anew to their task of producing the multitudes who will bring about the next tragedy of civilization.”
    • “She was replenishing the ranks of the prostitutes, furnishing grist for the criminal courts and inmates for prisons.”
  • Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race (1920).

Main points (cont.)

  • 2. Birth control is the way for women to attain basic freedom.
    • “They [women] are determined to decide for themselves whether they shall become mothers, under what conditions and when.”
    • “Through birth control she will attain to voluntary motherhood. “ “Having attained this, the basic freedom of her sex, she will cease to enslave herself and the mass of humanity.”
  • Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race (1920).

Main points (cont.)

  • 3. Women need to educate themselves on the issue of birth control. Doing so will diminish unwanted pregnancies and solve many of humanities weaknesses.
    • Famine, tyrannies, insane, slums, and war.
    • “She cannot pay it with palliatives-with child labor laws, prohibition, regulations of prostitution and agitation against war.”
    • “War, famine, poverty and oppression of the workers will continue while woman makes life cheap.” “They will cease only when she limits her reproductively and human life is no longer a thing to be wasted.”
  • Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race (1920).

3rd main point cont.

  • “The problem of birth control has arisen from the effort of the feminine spirit to free itself from bondage. Women herself has wrought that bondage through her reproductive powers and while enslaving herself has enslaved the world.”
  • Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race (1920).

Main points (cont.)

  • 4. Birth control is primarily a woman’s problem.
    • “Within her is wrapped up the future of the race-it is hers to make or mar.” “It is woman’s duty as well as her privilege to lay hold of the means of freedom.”
    • “In an ideal society, no doubt, birth control would become the concern of the man as well as the woman.”
    • “Man has not only refused any such responsibility, but has individually and collectively sought to prevent woman from obtaining knowledge by which she could assume this responsibility for herself.”
  • Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race (1920).

4th main point cont.

    • “ The task is hers. It cannot be avoided by excuses, nor can it be delegated. It is not enough for women to point to the self-evident domination of man. It makes no difference that she does not formulate industrial systems nor that she is an instinctive believer in social justice. In her submission lies her error and her guilt.”
    • “She goes through the vale of death alone, each time a babe is born. As it is the right neither of man nor the state to coerce her into this ordeal, so it is her right to decide whether she will endure it.”
    • “Birth control is a woman’s problem. The quicker she accepts it as hers and hers alone, the quicker will society respect motherhood. The quicker, too, will the world be made fit a place for her children to live.”
  • Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race (1920).

Historical Significance

  • Margaret Sanger “revolutionized” America more than anyone else has. She opened the minds of others to women's rights to choose when and how many children to have. By giving women the opportunity to make choices about motherhood she reduced the amount of evils in humanity. What would the world be like if there were not birth control? Can you imagine the crime rate, the depletion of resources, famine, and other tribulations if there was no control of the population. By introducing a method to control the population, Sanger enhanced the value of life for those who wanted children and those who did not. Life became more of a gift for those who had the opportunity to choose when to have children.
  • Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race (1920).
  • Thousands gathered in Paris, Texas, for the 1893 lynching of Henry Smith.
  • Thousands gathered in Paris, Texas, for the 1893 lynching of Henry Smith.

MAIN POINTS

  • For more than thirty years Negroes were killed without due process.
    • During these years more than ten thousand Negroes have been killed in cold blood, without the formality of judicial trial and legal execution.”
      • Race Riots
      • Unjust Suffrage
      • Violators of white women
  • The government did nothing to stop brutal lynchings of Negroes.
    • “The government which had made the Negro a citizen found itself unable to protect him. It gave him the right to vote, but denied him the protection which should have maintained that right.”

Main Points Continued

  • After Negroes were given emancipation, White women from the north began teaching the negroes despite allegations by southern white women that these negroes were violent.
    • “ Before the world adjudges the Negro a moral monster, a vicious assailant of womanhood and a menace to the sacred precincts of home, the colored people ask the consideration of the silent record of gratitude, respect, protection, and devotion of the millions of the race in the South, to the thousands of northern white women who have served as teachers and missionaries since the war…”

Main Points Continued

  • The Negroes were helpless in the fight against the white men.
    • The white man’s victory soon became complete by fraud, violence, intimidation, and murder. The franchise vouchsafed to the Negro grew to be a “barren ideality,” and regardless of numbers, the colored people found themselves voiceless in the councils of those whose duty it was to rule.”
  • Spectacle lynching. The Burning and Lynching of Jesse Washington, Waco Texas 1916. 
  • Although accurate figures on the lynching of blacks are lacking, one study estimates that in Texas between 1870 and 1900, extralegal justice was responsible for the murder of about 500 blacks—only Georgia and Mississippi exceeded Texas’s numbers in this grisly record. Between 1900 and 1910, Texas mobs murdered more than 100 black people. In 1916 at Waco, approximately 10,000 whites turned out in holiday-like atmosphere to watch a mob mutilate and burn a black man named Jesse Washington. (Source: Calvert, De Leon and Cantrell, The History of Texas, pp. 189, 261-262.)
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Main Point: We should concentrate on work and progress. Blacks and whites need stop fighting, agitating and relocating. The South will progress if we work together. We only hurt ourselves by fighting.
  • THE MESSAGE FOR BLACKS: Work hard, and do not agitate for equality. Start at the bottom and work your way up.
  • Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. …when it comes to business…, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world…. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life…. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top.
  • The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing.
  • However, working together does not necessary include socializing together.
  • THE MESSAGE FOR WHITES: We are a loyal and humble people who serve you well if you treat us well. It is in your interest to encourage and help black people.
  • Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you have tested….. Cast down your bucket among these people who have without strikes and labor wars tilled your fields, cleared your forests, builded your railroads and cities, brought forth treasures from the bowels of the earth, just to make possible this magnificent representation of the progress of the South. Casting down bucket among my people, helping and encouraging them as you are doing on these grounds, and to education of head, hand, and heart, you will find that they will buy your surplus land, make blossom the waste places in your fields, and run your factories. While doing this, you can be sure in the future, as in the past, that you and your families will be surrounded by the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and unresentful people that the world has seen. As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past, in nursing your children, watching by the sickbed of your mothers and fathers, and often following them with tear-dimmed eyes to their graves, so in the future, in our humble way, we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach, ready to lay down our lives,….
  • [We will interlace ] our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one.
  • THE MESSAGE FOR WHITES: If white people insist on keeping the Negro down, they will only be hurting themselves.
  • Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load upward, or they will pull against you the load downward. We shall constitute one-third and more of the ignorance and crime of the South, or one-third its intelligence and progress; we shall contribute one-third to the business and industrial prosperity of the South, or we shall prove a veritable body, of death, stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic.
  • Stamp commemorating Booker T. Washington Issue Date: April 7, 1940
  • SIGNIFICANT FINE POINT FOR BOTH RACES: We do not have to socialize together, but we should work together for the common cause of development.
  • In all things that are purely social we call be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.
  • W.E.B. Du Bois, Strivings of the Negro People (1897)
  • Main Points:
  • 1. Being a problem [i.e. being an black person in 19th c. America] is a disturbing experience, compelling one to always take other people’s estimation of them in consideration and creating a double-consciousness.
  • [T]he Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,--a world which yields him no self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.
  • 2. The African American feels his duality of being both African and American.
  • One ever feels his two-ness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, — this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa; he does not wish to bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he believes — foolishly, perhaps, but fervently — that Negro blood has yet a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without losing the opportunity of self-development.
  • 3. The end of the Negro’s striving is “to be a co-worker in the kingdom of culture, to escape both death and isolation, and to husband and use his best powers.
  • 3. Prejudice and discrimination keep the freedman oppressed.
  • The freedman has not yet found in freedom his promised land. Whatever of lesser good may have come in these years of change, the shadow of a deep disappointment rests upon the Negro people….
  • 4. Americans, including white Americans, should appreciate the Negro race.
  • Work, culture, and liberty,--all these we need, not singly, but together; for to-day these ideals among the Negro people are gradually coalescing, and finding a higher meaning in the unifying ideal of race,--the ideal of fostering the traits and talents of the Negro, not in opposition to, but in conformity with, the greater ideals of the American republic, in order that some day, on American soil, two world races may give each to each those characteristics which both so sadly lack.
  • W.E.B. Du Bois, The Niagara Movement, (1905)
  • We should meet, despite the existence of other organizations for Negroes.
  • We must complain about common wrongs toward blacks.
    • We must complain. Yes, plain, blunt complaint, ceaseless agitation, unfailing exposure of dishonesty and wrong—this is the ancient, unerring way to liberty, and we must follow it. (p. 100)
  • In not a single instance has the justice of our demands been denied, but then come the excuses.


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