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Over 100 Years Later... The History of Everyday Life

“A world I dream where black or white, whatever race you be, will share the bounties of the earth and every man is free.” ―Langston Hughes

My mother, two older sisters, and younger brother are watching the local news coverage of Derek Chauvin's trial. Chauvin's face is purposely zoomed in at the bottom half of the photo because his eyes darting from side to side proves how disinterested he is. This serves as a reminder that, in addition to hatred, ignorance is a key component of racism. My eldest sister lifts her fist in the air to demonstrate black power and solidarity, while my other sister holds her hands above her head to express her surprise that he was found guilty on all three counts. This event exemplifies a moment in history in which black and white people were all on the same page.

A portrait of my sixteen-year-old brother, who is wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt and has his mouth taped shut. Since those were Floyd's last words before he died, the phrase "I can't breathe" is proudly written on the tape. My brother is intentionally the main subject of this photograph because it is an irrefutable reality that police brutality is the leading cause of death among young men of color. Black men are 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by police, particularly between the ages of 20 and 35. Black people in America “can’t breathe” in a society that instills fear and violence.

Friedman-Abeles' 1957 photograph Simply heavenly shows the cast of Langston Hughes' musical, which is based on his novel Simple Takes a Wife. Hughes uses the protagonist Jesse B. Semple to illustrate racism and the complex domestic issues that black people face in Harlem. Langston Hughes is a key figure in the “New Negro” Renaissance because he expresses his feelings about politics and racial inequality through art.

“We younger Negro artists now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame…We know we are beautiful. And ugly too.” ―Langston Hughes, The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain

The photograph depicts George Schuyler as a young man standing tall, while his right-hand rests on the chair. He is suited up in his military uniform, and according to the photograph's title, he was promoted to First Lieutenant during World War I in 1917. Even though he moved up the ranks, Schuyler went AWOL because of the systemic racism he experienced in the Army. Schuyler believes in limited government, equality before the law, and individual liberty, all of which are American founding values. He is portraying himself accurately in the photograph because he is performing his duty as an American citizen by serving his country.

The photograph depicts Booker T. Washington's students doing manual labor and raising the roof of one of the Tuskegee Institute buildings in 1916. Washington began his life as a slave in Virginia, where he developed a passion for reading and learning. He established a new school in Tuskegee, Alabama that would train African American educators, craftsmen, and laborers. Booker T. Washington claims that for the time being, black people should set aside their requests of ending of racial segregation and embrace injustice in order to focus on prospering financially through hard work and sheer determination.
A portrait of DuBois with the Fisk University class of 1888. DuBois was born in Massachusetts and was the first in his family to graduate from high school. Fisk University opened DuBois' eyes to the injustice that African Americans faced on a regular basis. Since DuBois aims for higher education, this image encapsulates who he is as a person. DuBois believes that in a world rife with racism manifested in segregation laws and lynching, the only way to achieve social change is through protesting. As the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), DuBois worked to fight for racial equality and change.

“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” ― W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

In 1930, a mob of ten to fifteen thousand white people kidnapped three young black men from the Marion, Indiana prison, lynching Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith. However, after being beaten by the crowd, sixteen-year-old James Cameron survived. Lynching became even more prevalent during the end of the Civil War because once black people were given their freedom, many people felt that they need to be controlled. Between 1882 and 1968, 4,743 people were lynched in the United States, with 3,446 of them being African Americans.

About the Author

Tinotenda Duche is an Honors student and a Biochemistry major at the University of New Hampshire. She strives for change and racial equality as an African American young woman. The webpage is filled with images from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture as well as photos she has taken herself. Photography is one of her favorite hobbies because it allows her to link to her past by capturing a moment in time. Since an image is worth a thousand words, she intended to use this medium to convey her message. She hopes that by developing this webpage, one-day people will be able to live in a world where no one is judged by the color of their skin and people of all races will coexist peacefully.

References

Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. Simply heavenly. [1957] Retrieved from <https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/be0b982f-8ffb-ef5e-e040-e00a18062c1f>

Blake, A. (2021, April 24). The look in Derek Chauvin's eyes was something worse than hate. CNN. <https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/24/us/derek-chauvin-eyes-indifference-blake/index.html>

Cheung, H. (2020, June 8). George Floyd death: Why US protests are so powerful this time. BBC News. <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52969905>

Constitutional Rights Foundation. (2021). Booker T. Washington. Constitutional Rights Foundation. <https://www.crf-usa.org/black-history-month/booker-t-washington>

Ebeling, R. M. (2019, August 19). George S. Schuyler, Anti-Racist Champion of Liberty. AIER. <https://www.aier.org/article/george-s-schuyler-anti-racist-champion-of-liberty/>

Edwards, F., Lee, H., & Esposito, M. (2019, August 20). Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex. PNAS. <https://www.pnas.org/content/116/34/16793>

Hamilton, S. (2007, January 19). George Schuyler (1895-1977). BlackPast.org. <https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/schuyler-george-1895-1977/>

Hardy, J. (2005, January). 'We Know We are Beautiful'. Socialist Review. <http://socialistreview.org.uk/292/we-know-we-are-beautiful>

NAACP. (2021). History of Lynchings. NAACP.<https://www.naacp.org/history-of-lynchings/>

Padgett, D. (2021, May 3). Report: 16-Year-Old LGBTQ+ Mikayla Miller Was Killed by Group. OUT. <https://www.out.com/crime/2021/5/03/mother-says-her-16-year-old-lgbtq-daughter-mikayla-miller-murdered>

Pazzanese, C. (2018, October 24). Harvard sociology conference to give W.E.B. Du Bois his due. Harvard Gazette. <https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/10/harvard-sociology-conference-to-give-web-du-bois-his-due/>

Remnick, D. (2021, April 20). The Significance of the Derek Chauvin Verdict. The New Yorker. <https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-significance-of-the-derek-chauvin-verdict>

Rozen-Wheeler, A. (2017, October 19). Marion, Indiana Lynching (1930). BlackPast.org. <https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/marion-indiana-lynching-1930/>

Rudwick, E. (2021, February 23). W.E.B. Du Bois. Encyclopedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/W-E-B-Du-Bois>

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. (1916). Tuskegee in the making; Nothing delighted Mr. Washington more than to see his students doing the actual work of erecting the Tuskegee Institute buildings; A group of students raising the roof on one of the buildings. Retrieved from <https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-9e24-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99>

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. (1917). George Schuyler, journalist, as a First Lieutenant during World War I. Retrieved from <https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/71fb5655-4643-57b7-e040-e00a18067bc2>

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. (1888). W. E. B. Du Bois with the Fisk University class of 1888 Retrieved from <https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/8e0981a2-4aec-a10a-e040-e00a18063089>

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. (1930-10). View of the lynching of Tom Shipp and Abe Smith at Marion, Indiana Retrieved from <https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/e614b4d0-434d-0132-798d-58d385a7b928>

The New York Public Library. (2021). Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The New York Public Library. <https://www.nypl.org/locations/schomburg>

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Tinotenda Duche
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