Running head: LIFE AS AN Life as an African American in New York City in the 1900’s Serena Hamilton Colorado Technical University Online HIS120-1001A-04 Professor John Ragan January 8, 2009 Life as an African American in New York City in the 1900’s Imagine an environment where people are trying to have a better life. I work for a rich family in Manhattan. I am blessed to be born with a natural musical ability; though I cannot read or write I can sit down at a piano and play as though I have been formerly trained.
Employed by a family that values my musical gift; I teach their three daughters piano in exchange for a very modest salary and learning how to read and write. I am treated well in the confines of their homes but when guest are over I am treated differently. I live in Harlem in a small apartment; I am saving to one day go to college and become a music teacher. Harlem is like a melting pot for African Americans escaping the harshness of the south. Equality is still a long way from being achieved. Sometimes here in Harlem it feels like we have been brought to just another plantation.
I feel this when I walk the streets, because only here I am not sneered at for the color of my skin. Often I dream of the day that I will be judged fairly. I have began to follow two movements that I feel will help with the injustices I am faced with. They are The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Women’s role in Society. The NAACP is calling out many of the injustices to African Americans such as unequal pay, housing conditions and treatment in public places. I realize there are some whites that do not condone the treatment I am receiving as an African American in comparison to my white counterparts.
Being an African American woman, I pay close attention to the roles women are playing in society. I feel that women, in spite of their race share a common interest. We want to be counted as equal citizens of the United States. They also have firsthand experience of what it is like to be treated as a second class citizen. I notice women finally speaking out about the same issues that concern me. As I dream about the day when I will attend college and start new life I began to look up to individuals that have made great strides in African American conflicts. Particularly, two people stand out for their works toward the advancement of my people.
They are W. E. B. Du Bois and Jane Addams. I admire the message they both delivers. I know that education is the only way to combat the social ills I am facing. In these times many of us sell out just to get ahead. I think it is risky for Mr. Du Bois to publicly denounce the teachings of Booker T Washington. As an African American I need to know that wanting an education that will keep me from the fields and working in factories is a great goal. It is of great relief to hear about people who speaks publicly about their beliefs. They have motivated me to rise up against the struggle (Williams, 2004-2010).
Jane Addams is a great example of living the experience she fights for. I look up to her because unlike many white activists she lives among the conditions we face daily by choice. I can identify with her because she does not assume from her office, what life for us is like. According to her, the poor are often victims of circumstance and that it is the responsibility of society to first understand those who are affected and then develop means for their participation in lateral progress (Hamington, 2007). Life in New York in the 1900’s is definitely better than in the south but yet we have struggles to overcome.
Finally, this melting pot has become a strong hold for African Americans striving for a better life. References . . Goldfield, D. , Abbott, C. , Argersinger, J. A. E. , ;amp; Argersinger, P. H. (2005). Twentieth-Century america: A social and political history. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Hamington, M. (2007, April 12). Jane Addams. In Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved January 6, 2010, from http://plato. stanford. edu/entries/addams-jane/#RadPra. WIlliams, R. W. P. D. (2004-2010). Welcome. Retrieved January 4, 2010, from http://webdubois. org/.