Women's Right Essay

3607 words - 14 pages

Women felt a need for a change because they were tired of being "barefoot and pregnant". Women did not want to be mere objects (Hand 1). There is evidence that God had created men and women as equals in the fifth chapter of Genesis which says, "In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed and named them man in the day when they were created" (Rogers). Women have not always been treated fairly and not all women are treated fairly yet. Although, women's rights have changed significantly for the good in the past two centuries.African American women had no say in which they were "mated" with. Owners often ordered mating much as with livestock, because he thought the cross would be good. Marriage ceremonies were sometimes performed between African American men and women according to their customs and beliefs, but the slaveholder did not often recognize such marriages. Spouses, as well as children, were commonly sold off and never seen or heard from again.English Common Law was patrilineal (titles, property, and rights were held by males), but the colonies adopted a matrilineal position with African Americans. African American children share the status of their mother. In other words, if the mother was a free woman of color, then her children would be free, but if a slave, her children would be slaves, owned by the same person that owned their mother. Their owner decided occupations of enslaved African American women. They could be assigned to work in the house, shop or in the fields. There not much gender role designation - if assigned to the fields, the women would do the "lighter" job of hoeing, while the men plowed. Often hired out to others in the community, the slave owner retained any earnings they made.Except in a few northern colonies, education for blacks had been banned since the early 1700s. Most slave owners thought that education led to rebellion. Slaves who were lucky enough to have been taught the basics of reading and writing before the ban on education continued to teach their children and others in secret. Oral storytelling was used to keep African American traditions alive. Pregnancy and childbirth was a happy occasion for the European American woman, with family close by and extra cosseting, but the African American woman received no extra care or nutrition. They continued working until labor began and owners expected them back to work only two or three days after delivery. Enslaved African American women developed an inner strength and independence because of all the tragedies and hardships they endured. They learned to build networks with other women in order to survive, because their families were so often destroyed.Free African American women, lived a life very different from those enslaved. Freedom was gained by a variety of means. Owners in their wills had freed man, or they had scrimped and saved to buy freedom. Some were the offspring of freed slaves. Most...

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