Virtual Trip: Two Cultures
My first chosen culture is Phillis Wheatley (1753 — Dec 1784) from Smithsonian (si.edu). Philis Wheatly was the first African American to publish a book and first woman to be able to earn a living through her writing. Philis Wheatley was brought to the colonies as a slave. Slaves were not educated at the time, but Wheatly learned to read and write within two years. Phillis Weatley earned her freedom when she became a notable with her work, Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral (1773), which was published in London. My second culture of choice is Ethel Lois Payne, she is another fearless colored woman who at her time broke barriers. Ethel Payne worked for The Chicago Defender, an African American leading newspaper. Payne was a journalist there. She would report all over the world, even dangerous locations. She was a big influence on journalists everywhere. In addition to being honored with awards, she has also been honored with a stamp bearing her photograph.
Despite obstacles, both women achieved their goals. They were not only women, but also women of color. They opened doors for women everywhere, especially colored women. Payne was active in the civil rights movement. She fought for the rights of African Americans. While Wheatly worked her way to freedom. Reading and writing helped her pave the way to freedom. Women must overcome prejudice, fight for equality, and fight for diversity. They showed that women everywhere, no matter the color of your skin, can accomplish anything when putting your mind to it and fighting in what you believe.
When I read about these two amazing women, I was left with a question. What is the state of affairs for women of color today? Many women, especially Wheatly, Payne, and so many women of color, have opened the doors, but what more can be done for women, especially colored women, to have equal rights as men? I found a lot of results using the keywords “Equal Rights for Colored Women or Rights of African American Women.” For primary resources, articles, books, interviews, and documents to support the question, try the school library.