Sunday, January 6, 2013

Atlanta to Birmingham

We went to the Ebenezer Baptist Church is Atlanta, Georgia, this morning. It was a very moving experience to see the way religion plays a huge role in the lives of African Americans and how it ties in to the Civil Rights Movement. The Church is not just a religious center for them, but also the center of their social lives.

Where are all the women?

A recurring trend I’ve noticed so far on the pilgrimage is a lack of women in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Through all of my experiences so far, the only prominent woman in the movement is Rosa Parks. From taking the “Women of the Civil Rights Movement” class, I’ve learned that there are so many women who were absolutely essential to the movement – Mamie Till Mobley, Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, and many many more. We live in such a sexist society that everything we learn from a young child through adulthood is loaded with sexist undertones. Women are always seen as inferior to men. Women are oppressed. Women are seen as incapable of being leaders. This is still a HUGE problem – it obviously isn’t as big of a problem as it was during the movement, but still an ever present dilemma in society.

Why aren’t women acknowledged for their accomplishments, even now that we are in a less sexist society than during the movement? In my opinion, male reporters didn’t care what women had to say, regardless of their huge accomplishments. Because these reporters never recorded anything about women, it is hard to look back through history and easily find any information about any of the women present in the movement.

For example, today we went to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. It was a phenomenal experience to see the history of Birmingham, Alabama, and an overview of the major accomplishments of the entire Civil Rights Movement. One thing that was missing; however, were women. As I mentioned before, only Rosa Parks was explicitly mentioned – there were a couple other names of others, but there was no other information. I think that it is unjust for women to still be oppressed in 2013.

To end, here’s a quote from a new song from 2012 that I think is fitting although no directly related to sexism: “no freedom ‘til we’re equal, damn right I support it.” –Macklemore’s Same Love

Greg Hofmann
Junior - UWEC
Political Science & Student Affairs

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