Friday, 31 October 2014

Carol Moseley Braun

Carol Moseley Braun:
Carol was an American politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1992-1999. Being an African-American shows that there has been a huge amount of change with race and the United States because Carol Braun is an example of the difference between now and 100 years ago. This also shows progression as well because for an African-American to be represented in the Senate, proves that race is no longer an issue nowadays. It also shows progress because it is an African-American woman and not a man- which shows that equality has also progressed along with race.

However, the idea that race has changed and progressed could just be ideological because whiteness shifts over time and slowly brings in immigrant group after immigrant group, so that eventually they become 'white'. Also there are different terms for race for example, coloured and not black means that the white and black binary is changed and this makes it equal. Or race may have changed because race is a historical product and is a cause of racial thinking, so people's mindset has probably changed over the years 'allowing' Carol to become a politician and a lawyer.

Since 1992-1999, there hasn't been another African-American woman in the same position as Carol which may indicate that there actually hasn't been any change at all and that Carol was a 'one off''. However this could just mean that modern day African-American woman don't want that kind of job, or the population is predominately non-African-Americans, or that race actually hasn't changed even today- when equality is as equal as ever.

Journal article: What ever happened to... Carol Moseley Braun? 
This is an interesting article which makes you question race in this day and age and whether it has made any progress etc. over the years.

"She ran for president in 2004 because of a conversation with her young niece, who pointed out that "all the presidents were boys.""

"Moseley Braun was the first, and to date only, African-American woman elected to the Senate."

"Moseley Braun says she has no plans to run for elected office again."

First of all the first quote shows that the lack of woman in politics was really obvious because a child could point it out, and that even though Carol did get represented it wasn't the norm- which must have been inspiration for many African-Americans and African-American woman especially. However this does also show that if you are determined enough, opportunities are there in the USA, even with incidents like this when it may seem like it is not an option.

The second quote shows that there was a breakthrough relating to race because she was the first, but then it goes on to say the only, as if suggesting that race hasn't actually progressed at all or at least very little since then. Although there has been an African-American president- but it isn't a woman.

The third quote suggests that she has made her point that African-American woman and men can be represented in the Senate (because she has done it), and this shows that race must be progressing because 100 years ago it may not have been the case that Carol was representing. But when it says that she has no plans to run for elected office again shows that it is possible to become a politician but you can only go so far, which makes you question whether race has changed over the years or not.

Journal article: By Lunney, Kellie, national journal, 03604217, 11/3/2007, vol. 39, Issue 44

Grace La Traille

Monday, 27 October 2014

12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave is a popular film that has won many awards such as an Oscar, a BAFTA and a Golden Globes award. When watching the film, it is clear to see why it has impressed so many people.

12 Years a Slave takes on the subject of African American slavery and shows it from the perspective of the slave instead of the white master. The effects this has on the viewers is that they feel sympathy for the slaves and are resentful towards the white owners. This isn't the case for all of the white characters though as Ford and other men are admired for helping Solomon.

My initial reaction to this film was sadness for Solomon and the rest of the slaves as they had their whole lives taken away from them.  This emotion developed after reflecting on the movie as I realised that this was seen as socially acceptable in America and people were treated as badly as the film portrayed. What shocked me most about the film was that the character of Solomon was a respected man at the beginning and was treated equally to any white man living in New York. Going from this idea that we see in the present day to being downgraded and treated like an animal made me feel very distressed as it presented the idea that it could happen to anyone.

Due to the fact that 12 Years a Slave is a film which means it is created to keep viewers interested, we have to take into consideration that it might only show the worst parts of slavery and not the boring daily routines slaves would have to tolerate. This therefore means that the film is not completely reliable at showing us how African American slaves lived and were treated. The story of Solomon is also the representation of one character and even though we meet other slaves, we do not follow their story lines completely so we do not know the positions they were all in.

Overall I think that 12 Years a Slave is a very good method of showing audiences how African American slaves were treated, however we cannot fully trust the film to be an accurate representation of this as it is made for the purpose of keeping viewers engaged and therefore it only shows the most dramatic parts of slavery. This isn't a film that I would like to see again as it is deeply upsetting to watch however I believe that everyone should watch it once to gain an idea of how badly African Americans were treated.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

12 Years A Slave

          The film 12 Years a Slave depicts the life of a man who is stolen from the North, transported to the South and sold into slavery. The movie follows the true story of Solomon Northup which is based on his memoir which he wrote documenting his kidnapping and sale into slavery. The process by which Northup was kidnapped, broken, sold into slavery, and then subsequently oppressed and resold was far too common and the tale of what many slaves went through. Although his situation was extraordinary because he was kidnapped from the North the situation he faced once enslaved is an accurate portrayal of the horrors that were faced by African Americans during the time of slavery in America.
          The beautifully shot landscapes should be idyllic and often resemble something of a painting but placed in the film throw up huge conflict as they remind you more of the blood and suffering and make you think that the brutality of man is disturbing the natural beauty that the South has to offer.
          Benedict Cumberbatch's character, Ford, portrays a seemingly decent and caring man who treats his slaves with some respect and kindness, giving Northup a violin for example. He comes off as a relatively good man who is trapped within the powerful confines of the institution of slavery, however the fact that he reads the Bible to his slaves to give them hope that once they die they’ll go to a better place is twisted, he does nothing to help or free them which make me think that he is no better than the other slave owners. Personally I think 12 Years A Slave manages to depict slavery well as something that can drain the humanity from everyone it touches; for the slaves themselves it manages to break all hope that they may have of being free, turning them into shells of people for their owners to do with as they please, characters such as Ford who are seemingly good men are still shown to exploit people and do very little or nothing to help them, for example when Northup is hung by the neck with only his toes barely touching the floor but life around the plantation goes on undisturbed,  furthermore it turns flawed men, such as Epps (played by Michael Fassbender) into villainous monsters who have too much power over people who deserve to be treated much better than they are.
          I think that although the film is based on the memoirs of Solomon Northup and the story is shown through his eyes, it doesn’t linger too much on him personally, it gives us great detail about each of the characters that are met in subtle ways. I think it does this particularly well with all the female characters; Patsey and Epps’ wife specifically.
          Patsey seems to be the polar opposite of Northup; she is a broken girl who has never known dignity as she was born into slavery, she is forced to endure the ‘love’ of Epps and the brutal jealousy of his wife in a life that she knows she will never escape. However within this she still portrays a level of innocence that depicts only further tragedy for her character, in an amazing emotional performance.
          Overall, the film 12 Years A Slave offers an accurate representation of slavery in Southern America at the time. It is a heartbreakingly emotional film, made up of a well picked cast, who are able to show the agony and despair of the slaves, the bitterness, jealousy and villainous behaviours of the slave owners and all in all are able to portray the memoirs of Solomon Northup well and justly.

12 Years a slave

I do not feel I can say I enjoyed the film 12 years a slave as I don’t feel that this is a film to be enjoyed. The film is well made, but it is not meant to be easy to watch or entertaining, it is meant to show a true story in all its horror. There is nothing fun about watching it, its purpose is to show Solomon’s story and give us a visual retelling of what was most likely a common occurrence at the time.
         At the beginning of the film Solomon is tricked and kidnapped into slavery. At first this seemed pointless to me, why would the ‘circus men’ go through all of that just to gain a slave? But then I realised that it was because they did not have to purchase Solomon to then try to sell him on to make a profit, they got him for free so they were guaranteed a profit. It was obvious that they knew Solomon was a free slave and so there must have been very little in the way of punishment for slave traders who were caught selling a free person under the pretence that they were a slave. The only reason those men wanted Solomon was so that they could make a profit, they did not think of his family or what they would be selling him into. I imagine this would be a fairly common occurrence at the time, which shows that even though a free man is legally free many slave traders and masters would not care as they still saw all black people as property no matter what their free papers said.
          Even before Solomon’s kidnapping the film shows that the idea of a free slave at the time was rare, even though it was legally allowed. During the beginning of the film Solomon and his family are shown going about their daily business, including entering a shop to buy a bag for Solomon’s wife, Anne. During this scene we see a black man enter the shop behind Solomon and look around with a confused expression. The shop owner treats this confused man as if he is just a normal customer, as he should be, but we then see that this confused man is a slave when his master comes into the shop to angrily collect him. This shows that being a free black man at this time would have been strange for many slaves, as I assume they would wonder why they are a slave and the free black man is not. This strengthens the idea that it was easy to kidnap a free black person as for many slaves and white people it would be unheard of in their community for a black person to be anything other than a slave.
        The changing of Solomon’s name to Platt shows that slave masters would give their slaves new names to dehumanise them, somewhat like giving a new pet a name. This is also shown by how the name Platt is not a name a white man at the time would have, it is a name a person would make up to give to their dog not to give to their child.
            One negative criticism I have of this film is that I feel it would have been a much stronger portrayal of slavery if the film followed the life of female slave. I understand that this film was based on a true account and thus follows the life of the man who wrote this account, but I feel that from watching this film the life of a male slave would have been less complex that of a female slave.
       As we saw in this film families were split up when sold, including taking children away from their mothers. During the scenes where Solomon is being sold we can see a slave trader willing to sell a mother and her son but not her daughter, as the daughter would be worth more as she will grow up to be beautiful due to the fact that she looked more ‘white’. The mother obviously new that her daughter was essentially being kept because she would be worth more because for her sexual appeal later in life. This must have been devastating for both mother and child, and yet we only see a small glimpse of this truth in the film. We see that the mother later on is distraught over losing her children and cannot hide her grief no matter what Solomon says to her. Solomon knows his family are safe, this women doesn't know where her children are and whether she will ever see them again.
        I feel that the life of a slave like Patsey would have been a much more complex film based on just the glimpses of it we see in the film. The way she is prized for her speed at picking cotton, yet still treated like less than human like the other slaves even though Epps is quite obviously sexually attracted to her. The fact that no one, other than Epps wife, complains about the relationship between Epps and patsey shows that there is more of a story behind this kind of relationship between an unwilling slave and the slave master. Epps treats Patsey as if there is nothing he cannot do to his slaves as they are his property, and I feel if that if the film followed a female slaves life this would be explored more.
          This film does show that slavery was different depending on a slaves gender and age, a young man was seen as perfect for working in the fields where as an older male slave is seen as trustworthy enough to have a small amount of power over the other salves. This is shown in the film by an older male slave telling Solomon to get off the porch and an older slave wielding a whip and telling the other salves to keep working in the fields. Younger women were made to tend the house or do less physically demanding work in the fields, and they were more highly priced if they were attractive, which again hints that female slaves were used for more than just their work and that slave traders were well aware of this fact and as a result raised the price of attractive female salves. Older female slaves seem to have been more trusted to do the house work, and as the film shows in some occasions a female slave may become the partner of a white slave owner.
        The relationship between Ford and his slaves is interesting in this film as Ford is seen as a kind and lenient slave master and yet when Solomon tells him he is free Ford gets angry because he doesn't want to know about it. I feel as if Ford acts under the idea of plausible deniability, if he doesn't know a slave was a free man he doesn't have to think about it or do anything to help that slave.  This contrasts with Epps who would very obviously disregard any problems a slave was having, such as at the end of the film when he was adamant that Solomon was his property and not a free man.
       To conclude, I believe that this film is a very complex film and could be analysed in many different ways. It shows the truth of slavery from the events that happened in Solomon’s life, yet I feel like it could have explored the lives of female slaves in more detail. It gave a good account of the different types of slave masters and the various mind sets held by different slaves. The fact that it is from the point of view of Solomon, a slave rather than a white man is interesting and is what makes this film so important. Although the type of person Solomon is does effect the view we get as viewers, the film is still from a slave’s perspective and it does show many aspects of slavery in a compelling and shocking way.


12 Years a Slave

It is hard to say that 12 years a slave is 'brilliant film' because that is not what it is attempting to be. It isn't trying to be a film that people can watch time and time again and it shouldn't be, what the film is doing is educating and portraying the U.S' past sin. You only have to watch this film once to understand the intent of the film and the director Steve McQueen -who is also African-American- does it so justly.

The image above is of Anna's (Ashley Dyke) back following Burch (Christopher Berry) having made Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) whip Anna, as this image came on the screen it made people cringe, that reaction is far from surprising. Rather than talking about the reaction of the audience it's the reaction of the characters that is most important. Solomon struggles to beat Anna and you can see the pain it causes him whereas Burch and his wife have no problem watching this unfold and of course are forcing it to be done, even though Burch was in fact in a sexual relationship with Anna.

It is apparent that the beautiful scenery completely contradicts the deadly sin that is taking part within it. As well as the presence of religion which has an almost hallowing influence on the film especially on the plantations.
This image above has 4 parts to it; the righteous white man standing up front speaking gospel, the gorgeous scenery and arch-way sprouting life, the black people sat down looking up to the white man and finally something that is only in the audio of the film, the whaling cries of Eliza for her children.
This scene is most of the film wrapped into a space of about 2 minutes, white ignorance, black oppression and fear, religion and scenery.

The film truly does make the audience think about the problems being addressed but the sad truth is that this film is the truth. It is not fiction, fake, fable or a fantasy. It is the truth and yes there will have been areas where slavery wasn't as brutal (careful to not say as 'bad') but there are places it would have been more brutal, harsh or otherwise.

To bring this review to a close, 12 years a slave is not a 'brilliant film' it is a film that does the world a justice, there is not yet a word -that I can think of- that describes how and what the film does, not just the U.S, but for the world. It is an eye-opener for any viewer and is a must-watch before you die.

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Friday, 24 October 2014

12 years a slave

12 years a slave- I think this film is an amazing film because it is really entertaining but also because how it portrays slavery. The fact that the story line is presented in the eyes of someone who would have been a slave and their views of slavery and that it is not in the eyes of the slave owners as their views on slavery would have been completely different, this gives a much better understanding of what slavery was like and how the slaves were treated as well as how they would have felt too.

I think that the key features of the condition of slavery in the film is that the woman and the men cost different, depending on their value as there would have been different jobs like plantations and a house slave. However women are treated just as bad as men, and this is shown in the film when the young woman got whipped by the main character because she went off to get soap.

The film is a great film for showing the reality of slavery as it shows that a free black man who has a family etc. can be living his life and then suddenly become a slave if he is not too careful-because he trusted the two white men at the beginning of the film. It also shows the reality of slavery because it shows the dominance of the white people and that they have control over the slaves, because they took away the main characters papers, so he couldn't prove that he was a free man. This shows that the slaves were treated like animals and not people. Another interesting point that the film highlights is that the two white men decided to get a black man (not caring if he was 'free' or not) and this shows what the mindset of the slave owners and slave catchers were like, because they only cared about their lives and not about people who were black but not actually slaves.

There was one significant anti-slavery voice in the film which was the Canadian man which I found one of the most interesting parts of the film and the way it portrays slavery. The film makes a really good scene where the Canadian is white but is working for the slave owners (but actually gets paid, has his own cabin and doesn't actually have to be there and can go whenever he chooses), and he his working with the slaves and doing the same jobs as them. I liked this bit of the film because it really made it clear in how bad slavery actually was, because the slaves had to stay there etc. But what is also really interesting is when the Canadian man talks about how the slaves are treated and the fact that he actually disagrees with what the slave owner is saying and doing to the slaves, yet because he is white he doesn't get punished for talking, but if the slaves spoke then they would be punished.

I found that there was some difference between Ford and Epps despite the apparent kindness that Ford shows to Solomon because I think that Epps takes advantage of the slaves more because he regards them as his property and that he paid for them so he can do what he wants, and doesn't think about how the slaves might feel.

When the slaves sing the song "Roll, Jordan, Roll" it really expresses the despair of slavery and it shows that slavery was really bad and that the slaves were really desperate and that there was no hope and no way out.

The beautifully shot landscapes defiantly shows conflict between the representations of the South and the cruelty of slavery that occurs because slavery is the complete opposite of the location in where the film was set. It is very contradicting and it makes slavery invisible because of the beautiful landscapes around it.

With the whipping of Patsey scene it shows that slavery was considered normal during that time and that Epps doesn't see the black people as people and humans but as animals/property as well as not people like them.

When Solomon returns to his family he doesn't show happiness because he feels like he has let his family down and that he has also missed the years with his family and his children growing up, and just generally feels that he has missed a huge part of his life (12 years). And the fact that he has waited ages to see them too.  

When the slaves were often shown wandering between plantations without apparent surveillance this suggests that a) That the slave owners made sure that the slaves knew the consequences if they did escape and not make it. And b) The mindset of the slaves is already installed in how they should behave and what they should do/not do.

I think that the overall film is a great portrayal of slavery because it shows more than just one perspective and one thing about slavery such as families being apart, it also shows children in slavery and what the life of slavery would have been like in general. The film is really good in how it starts with the black man free, equal and normal and the same as any other free man, whether they are black or white, but then the rest of the film shows him a slave, and this is good because it shows how cruel slavery really was.



Sunday, 19 October 2014

Tempie Cummins

Tempie Cummins, Age Unknown

Tempie Cummins starts off her narrative by saying "The white chillun tries teach me to read and write" this surprised me when I first read it as it describes white children not showing the same discrimination as adults seem to have for African Americans as this time. This could therefore suggest to us that racism is something that is learnt through society rather than it being a natural instinct. The fact that the children are having to teach Tempie tells us that they are further educated than her even though they may be younger. This shows us that education for white children was more highly regarded than it was for black children. 

Cummins then says "I allus workin" which shows us that she wasn't treated any fairer because of her young age and that she was still expected to work the long hard hours that adults would be given. This again shows the lack of compassion for African Americans. 

Tempie later explains that "When freedom was 'clared, marster wouldn' tell 'em" this shows us that the slave owners just wanted to get as much work out of them as possible even if it was now not allowed. This reflects the views of many who only regarded their slaves as a labour force instead of humans with rights. 

Tempie explains that when her mother hears of this new freedom she runs outside whilst the "Marster, he come out with his gun and shot at mother" this sort of action would be typical of a farmer trying to catch one of his animals when it runs away which implies that the slaves were seen as animal-like. This also shows us that the master did not care about the lives of his slaves and would rather murder them than let them escape his control. 

Virginia Sims

I chose the person, Virginia Sims, as the name intrigued me. I thought if this women was born into slavery the chance is that Virginia is the name of the state she was born in, funnily enough I was correct.

The narrative opens "I was born in 1844. I was twenty when peace was declared. I was born in Virginia." Now I don't know for sure who named Virginia, but if it was her mother the likelihood is that she had little or no education so named her after the state as she didn't know many other names to call her. Though if she was named by the family that owned her at the time they probably didn't care enough to think of a name for her.

What strikes me about this opening is that she knows her exact age when 'peace' was declared even though at the time of the interview Virginia was 93. This was most probably the biggest thing that happened to her throughout her entire life after having been born into slavery.

Though Virginia was born in Virginia she wasn't there very long as she goes on to say "but I was sold, put up on a stump like you sell hogs to the highest speculator". This was a sad but true fact of slavery people were being sold and auctioned as if they were simply cattle. For someone of such a young age at the time it sounds disturbing to us now but it was completely acceptable at the time in states such as Virginia.

On the following page Virginia recalls a meeting she had "I member they was a white man called Dunk Hill and he said, 'Virginia, who free'd the niggers?' I said 'God free'd the niggers.'" This small recollection tells me a lot about Virginia as just from her grammar 'they' instead of 'there' shows me that she didn't have much of an education from a young age and continuing into her later life she will have been around a lot of people who weren't educated as a young age as well because then her grammar would have most likely improved, this was probably due to the segregation that followed the liberation from slavery. Just as well she refers to her peers as 'niggers' when responding to the 'white man' this is most probably because she didn't know any better. If this poor women had been born into slavery she would have been referred to as a 'nigger' from an extremely young age.

A surprisingly small amount of people know where the term 'nigger' comes from and this is because it tends to be a very taboo word especially for the 'white man' it comes form the Spanish word Negro which descends from the Latin word Niger. This meant either 'colour black' or 'to blacken'. It is the way the term was used which built it's offensiveness as it was supposed to refer to the 'extremely unsophisticated'.

"Old master whipped me with a little peach stick because I let Frankie"..."go up the ladder." This is the only mention of brutality from her master and Virginia says she was "always treated good". What is strange to me about this is that she doesn't seem have any problem with the fact she was whipped, it's almost as if she had been brainwashed into thinking that it was acceptable behaviour, but if you were born into it surely that's what's normal?

To end her interview Virginia says "I never went to school a day. After we was free'd we stayed right on the Murphy place. They paid us and we worked on the shares. That's the reason I say I done better when I was a slave." That final sentence sums up Virginia's entire experience of being a slave, it was fine, possibly even good. She had food, a bed, a roof over her head, she didn't have to worrying about making rent, she just worked, ate, socialised and slept. Virginia was very fortunate to have been treated well, a lot of other slaves weren't so lucky but to me it seems as if Virginia put it down to one thing, "I always been easy controlled"


Slave Narrative - John W. Fields

John W. Fields, Age 89

“In most of us colored folks was the greatest desire to [be] able to read and write.”
This suggests that most slaves wished to be educated and would fully appreciate the opportunity to do so if it was given to them by their owner. He goes on to say that “we took advantage of every opportunity to educate ourselves” which goes against the slave owner’s idea that slaves were not smart and not capable of being educated. The narrative also tells us that if a slave was caught trying to learn they would be severely punished, and if “a white man was caught trying to educate a Negro slave, he was liable to prosecution entailing a fine of fifty dollars and a jail sentence”. A punishment like this would have deterred the majority of white people from trying educate slaves.
“Our ignorance was the greatest hold the South had on us” This is the most important line from this narrative in my opinion. This suggests that the reason slave owners did not want slaves being educated was so that the slaves remained ignorant and thus did not fight back against their slavery. If a slave was educated they wouldn't be seen as unintelligent animals that can be used for slavery, they would be educated on the same level as a white slave owner and thus capable of doing more educated jobs, jobs that only the white man did at the time. An educated slave would threaten the employment prospects of the white people, if slaves were educated then white man could no longer deny their human rights by saying that they were like animals, they would be seen as more equal and this scared the white people.
John W. Fields describes how him and the other slaves were never allowed to go into town, which meant that until he ran away he didn't even know that the white people “sold anything but slaves, tobacco,  and whiskey”. Which shows that slaves were kept in a very isolated world, only knowing what their slave master wanted them to know, they had no connection to anything or anyone outside of their plantation unless their master wanted them to. This shows how the slave masters had complete control over all aspects of the slave’s lives, they could tell them where to go and what to do to the extent that they could completely isolate a slave for their entire life.
“We knew we could run away, but what then?”

This shows how this enforced isolation would mean a slave would have no choice but to stay on the plantation and work, as they knew so little about the word away from the plantation they would not know what to do if they managed to run away from their slave master. 


Friday, 17 October 2014

Slave Narrative

Image, Source:

I chose to write about Sarah Frances Shaw Graves (Missouri 87) because her slave narrative is really interesting.
"my mama, who was a slave owned by a man named Shaw"
Sarah seems to have been born into slavery as her mother was a slave which shows that slavery during this time was a cycle and would be nearly impossible to stop as there would be a new generation of slaves.

"owned by a man named Shaw"
This shows that during this time of slavery that some people got rich off of the work of others which shows that there wasn't equality at all between the slaves and the slave owners. This also shows that the slaves had no freedom because they were owned by others.

"We left my papa in Kentucky,"
This shows that families were torn apart because of slavery but the slaves still cared about their family even if they weren't in the same place. This also shows that the slaves had their own set of values that were mainly linked to family. It is obvious that many slave families struggled with losing family members either by death or moving to a different location. "Allotments made a lot of grief for the slaves,"

"My papa never knew where my mama went, an' my mama never knew where papa went."
This shows that the slave owners and people that were in favour of the slavery, didn't really see the slaves as people- only property as families weren't just separated but they were also not told where their families were. This must have caused problems when slavery was finally abolished as families couldn't reunite because they didn't know where their families were or if they were even alive. 

"They never wanted mama to know, 'cause they knowed she would never marry so long she knew where he was. Our master wanted her to marry again and raise more children to be slaves." 
This shows that the slave owners had a lack of care for the slaves and that the slaves would have no say in what would happen to them, for example whether they would marry again. The reason that the master would have wanted the woman to raise more children was so that they would also be slaves, and this way you would never run out of slaves, so the master would become wealthier. The standard of English within this part of the text shows that many, if not all slaves had bad reading and writing skills, which could mean that many slaves if not all of them didn't have the right to read and write and were not allowed to (as this would increase the intelligence of the slaves which would probably worry the slave owners).  

"They never wanted mama to know where papa was, an' she never did,"
This shows how bad the reality of slavery was, because the slave owners never wanted the mother to know where her husband was which is cruel but at the same time it's only an opinion of the slave owner. However this text also shows that not only did the slave owners think it but they actually made it happen because the mother never did know where her husband was. This also shows that the 'white society' or the 'non-slaves' had the power within the society because they can do whatever they want to. 

The fact that this slave narrative is from a person who was really young and was not only born into slavery but also grew up and lived in slavery, shows how long slavery lasted and had an impact on the people. 


Thursday, 9 October 2014


Things that typify Maine are its indcredible natural scenery and parks, lighthouses, sea foods such as lobster, and the fact that the state neither gets too hot or too cold making it ideal for people to vacate to.

With a population of 1,328,361 Maine is home to some Native American tribes - the Micmacs, the Penobscots, the Maliseets, the Passamaquoddies - about 1 percent of the population. Those who were born in Maine are about 95 percent Caucasian. However, a steady influx of people and vacationers is slowly but surely changing the ethnic diversity of Maine. The 2010 census shows that the domestic immigration is 33,818 but those moving out of Maine was roughly similar, 33,729.

Maine's generally poor soil, short growing season, and remoteness from industrial and commercial centers have gone against development and population growth. Lumbering, shipbuilding, and textile production have all peaked in the past, but changes in technology and competition from other states have always undercut the state's economic position. About 60% of Maine's agricultural revenues are derived from livestock and livestock production; 40% from crops. In terms of revenue generated, Maine's top five agricultural products are dairy products, potatoes, chicken eggs, greenhouse and nursery products, and aquaculture products. Overall the states economy is slowly but steadily increAsing again.




Best known for its hot weather and vast desert, Arizona is a highly visited state with a population of 6.627 million people. 

Arizona is the hottest state in America with temperatures reaching a high of 41C in the summer months. This heat could be the reason why 211,816 move away from Arizona as the heat makes living conditions difficult. Arizona has around 222,877 people move to the state, one reason for this may be because it has a good reputation for being clean and well maintained. 

Arizona receives many tourists due to people wanting to visit the Grand Canyon and the desert. This has made a large economic impact on Arizona with it making around $19 billion a year from tourists and creating 161,300 jobs. 

Arizona has a $6.3 billion agricultural industry with 7,500 farms and ranches. Cotton is grown here as well as fruits, vegetables and meats. Due to the hot weather in winter, Arizona ranks highly in crops grown throughout the year making it a stable economic state. 

Arizona is mainly inhibited by white persons with a percentage of 84%. The other 16% includes African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, Hawaiian and other races. 



There are many features that typify it's inhabitants, these are the climate, the geography, mobility and a transient population.

The climate of Minnesota represents the state because the winter weather is really cold as well as having lots of snow during this season. The freezing conditions where water freezes before it hits the ground means that winter clothing is a main feature of the states inhabitants, as they have to wear beanie hats, snow shoes/boots, gloves, scarves and thermal clothing so that they can live during the harsh weather.

The geography is also a feature that represents Minnesota's inhabitants because it is situated in the north of the country (Canada's border) and here the climate is much different than a southern state such as Florida. Another feature is the lakes that are in and around Minnesota, 'The Great Lakes' including Lake Superior which because of where it is geographically, it is the coldest lake out of them all.

These features have an influence on the mobility of the states as people move either to or from Minnesota. Many people move away from Minnesota because of where it is in the United States as well as the weather in the winter. A lot of it's inhabitants go to Florida which are then known as 'snowbirds' because they have come from the colder states to the warmer states in order to get the sunshine in the sun, as well as escaping the harsh winter conditions such as the snow. many of these people are elderly who struggle to live in Minnesota through the winter because it is extremely cold. However others within Minnesota don't move at all through the winter months because they either can't due to work etc. or because they just don't want to and are happy to live through the harsh weather conditions during the winter season. People don't generally go to Minnesota from other states because of the weather, but also because of there are another 49 states to choose from, which may offer more than Minnesota as well as a much better standard of living too such as Florida where it has a much warmer climate through the winter.

In the past it has been known that as many as 73,000 people aged sixty and over left for the winter (to a warmer state). This shows that the mobility of Minnesota is extremely high! The highest percentage of movement include the months of November, December, January, February and and March.

The state or region determines your identity because the culture across America varies throughout the whole country and this means that people who are from Minnesota will have an identity different from someone from North Carolina or North Dakota. For example, the identity of Minnesota's inhabitants would be 'northerners' whereas the identity of Alabama would be 'southerner'. All these different identities vary between each state so the region does determine the identity of a person.


Wednesday, 8 October 2014


Kansas State (KS) is right in the heart of the United States as well as being sat in the heart of the Great Plains, specifically in the mid-grass prairie.  The (2,893,957) inhabitants of  Kansas live within the middle of Tornado Alley, almost the entire state is classified as being in Tornado which is more than any other state. This means that the entirety of the inhabitants within the state of Kansas have to prepare every year for the hurricane season, for example building, fixing or restocking storm shelters.

Kansas seems to be 'typified' by it's large agricultural industry, it is even part of the state flag which contains the state seal depicting an idyllic scene of farming the land;

The main agriculture that takes place is wheat and other grains.

Kansas has a climate which if you situate yourself properly allows you to farm all year round (near enough) as it sits in three different climate classifications; it has humid continental semi-arid steppe and humid subtropical. Though having these three climate classifications can be beneficial to the state it is also the cause of the severe storms and hurricanes. "Despite the frequent sunshine throughout much of the state"..." the state is vulnerable to strong and severe thunderstorms. Some of these storms become supercell thunderstorms; these can spawn tornadoes, occasionally of EF3 strength or higher." 

Since 2010 the state of Kansas has seen a net loss of people at just under 66,000, there are many reasons speculated as to why there has been this net loss of population. It is thought to be that a lot of the younger generations aren't  happy with the rural, farming lifestyle and move to the more urban areas and cities, though there is still migration into the state which is typically of older generations wanting the more relaxed and quiet life for retirement. This state give the older generations who have been stuck in the urban or sub-urban areas most their lives an opportunity to be with nature. 

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Population: 4,533,372 (2010 Census estimate)

The Louisiana state flag shows the state bird, the eastern brown pelican, in white and gold, on a background of blue. The mother pelican is wounding herself to feed her three young. It also states Louisiana’s motto, “Union, Justice and Confidence”

Louisiana consists of many different people, such as the original Indian inhabitants of America, as well as those of French, Spanish, English, German, Acadian*, West Indian, African, Irish and Italian decent. This makes Louisiana a very diverse state, an example of how these different people have influenced today’s Louisiana is that the national dog of Louisiana is the Catahoula Leopard Dog. Which is a mix of a Spanish ‘war dog’ and the domestic dog the Indians of the Catahoula Lake region raised. This shows a mixing of the original inhabitants with the later settlers.

*The Acadian’s were originally a group of French settlers in 17th century Canada. Who then later settled in America, and later became the Cajun people of Louisiana.

Louisiana is well known for its food, such as Jambalaya and gumbo. As well as Cajun music, played with traditional instruments, such as the fiddle, accordion and triangle. With the lyrics of Cajun sings being part French and part English. It is also known for its alligators and swamps.

The prominent occupations were originally farming, trappers and fishermen but today there is a wide range of occupations, with Cajuns being the leaders in the state’s oil and gas industry.

The state’s national tree shows how the geography of the area affects the state. The state tree is the bald cypress, and its shape depends on the amount, and duration of flooding in the state.

Louisiana’s climate is relatively constant, and not as hot as originally thought by looking at images from the state, with the average temperature being 20°C. Snow fall is rare in the south, and it occasionally snows in the north. The average rain fall annually is 64.2 inches and during the summer tropical storms and hurricanes are frequent, leading to severe flooding, especially along the coast. Which in the past has resulted in loss of life and property which can deter people from wishing to visit or move to Louisiana.

There is a large tourist industry in Louisiana, as 27.3 million people visited Louisiana in 2013, and $10.8 billion was spent by domestic and international visitors in 2013. With $807 million state tax revenues generated by travel and tourism in Louisiana. The top two reasons for visiting Louisiana are shopping and fine dining, which emphasises the connection between Louisiana and its food. People also visit for festivals, such as Mardi Gras.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Space and Place

This map shows us that there is heavy percentages of people aged 65 and over speaking English "Less than very well" in metropolises such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles due to high immigrant populations in those areas. Immigration in these areas has been going on for a long time especially early to mid 20th century which contributes to this age of 65 and over.

More over there are extremely high percentages in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, the 'Amexica' states as there are high levels of migrant workers coming from Mexico and South America to these states. Florida also receives many Cuban refugees which pushes rates up, particularly in Miami and Orlando.

Alaska also has a high percentage but this is mainly due to the Alaska Natives and Native Americans as the older generations do not speak English as fluently as the younger generations do. There is also a small percentage of Spanish migrants there that constitute to the high percentage.


The U.S Through the Eyes of Texas

From what was spoken about in week 2 about the way that we view America, i thought that this map was appropriate. It illustrates the way that people in Texas view America and the way that it is divided.  From the map we can see that those who live in Texas take great pride in the things that come from their state, so in there mind it is the 'biggest and best' and clearly the heart of the United States, but comparatively they have split the rest of the U.S into stereotypical areas. For example the majority of the north east has been named 'Damn Yankee Land' or California being named 'Liar Land'. More so, although Canada is added, the way it is represented seems like it must be completely foreign to those who live in Texas. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Space and Place

This map shows the pay inequality in America by highlighting how much less women earn as a percentage to men in each state. This map uses information taken from a 2012 census which found that Wyoming had the biggest pay gap of 56.6% between male and female incomes. Some people believe this is because men are more involved in the mining and construction jobs available in Wyoming which pay well. Washington DC has the smallest gap of 11.0% which is still a large difference. 

With women earning an average 77% of men's wages, it is clear to see that the Equal Pay Act of 1963 did not stop employers from paying workers different salaries based on their gender. A new act called the Paycheck Fairness Act is currently being discussed and many people believe that if introduced, it would improve these statistics as employers would have limited factors such as education, training or experience which would allow them to differ someone's income.


Space and place

This is a map showing the largest ancestry groups in North America. I found this interesting because it shows where immigrants to America settled and the number of different Americans with ancestors from each country.

49,206,934 Germans
The majority of German-Americans now live in the centre of America, in places such as Arizona.The first significant groups of German immigrants to arrive in the United States in the 1960s settled in New York and Pennsylvania. They immigrated due to unemployment and political unrest in Germany and the majority of German-Americans now live in the centre of America.

41,284,752 Black or African Americans
This refers to citizens of the United States who have ancestry in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most African Americans are descended from slaves from west and central Africa. The majority live in the south, as this is where slaves were brought in to work on the cotton plantations, there are also African American communities in Chicago, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan.  

35,523,082 Irish
During the time of famine in Ireland in the 1840s there was mass immigration from Ireland to America. Around 4.5 million Irish are estimated to have moved to America between 1840 and 1920. The majority of Irish descendants are located in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.  

31,789,483 Mexican
American’s with Mexican ancestry are most common on the south western border in places such as Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas and San Antonio.

26,923,091 English
Those that identify as English- American are mostly found in the Northeast of America in New England and Utah, with the number that identify as English – American having decreased since 1980 as many more people are just identifying as American.

19,911,467 Americans
A large proportion of those claiming to have original American ancestors are stating this because they are unsure of their ancestry.

17,558,598 Italian
Between 1880 and 1920 over 4 million Italians immigrated to America, and there was another wave of immigrants from Italy following world war two.

9,739,653 Polish
The Polish were one of the earliest groups from Eastern Europe to immigrate to America. Between the mid-19th century and world war one around 2.5 million Polish immigrated to America and settled in the largest industrial cities, such as New York, Buffalo, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Chicago.

9,136,092 French
The French, along with the English, were some of the first people to have colonised North America. The most French populated areas are in the North East in border areas alongside Quebec and in the south around New Orleans and Louisiana.


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Space and Place

This map reveals that the American society unemployment percentage in 2009 wasn't just in one area, but it was spread out throughout the whole country. This is interesting because there are people living all across America, but the higher percentage of unemployment are in the areas with a higher population. 
Higher percentage- Michigan, California, Oregon, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Lower percentage- Wyoming, Nebraska, Idaho and Iowa.

Michigan- Michigan has a higher unemployment percentage because Detroit has had a hard time bringing jobs to the city and transport is really bad, so people lose jobs because they can't get to them. There are also a large number of African-Americans in the state (82.7%) identifying as black and African-Americans typically experience higher unemployment rates. This shows that in American society, the higher unemployment rates were in states where there are a higher number of non-whites. 

California- "There's so much competition out there for jobs" California has such a high unemployment rate because there is a higher population of people, due to people wanting to live in the 'Golden State' where the land is one of the best for resources and general  living. And if there is a huge number of people then you have less chance of getting a job because you have more people to compete with. The unemployment rose from 9.7% to 9.9% (June 2014). California has also lost a lot of construction workers (7,300 jobs were lost), and this had an impact on unemployment. California also responded to the economic crisis by cutting public employment and services. 

Oregon- In Oregon there are less employment opportunities and because it is a Western state, many people live there which increases the level of unemployment. Oregon doesn't have a huge industrial or manufacturing industry, due to tax which would have made job opportunities and given people in Oregon work. It also has small cities compared to other cities in the U.S but have a similar population of people there, so there isn't enough jobs for people. In one month, Oregon's unemployment rate rose dramatically from 2006-2008 (U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics). Another factor to why Oregon has a higher percentage of unemployment is that it has high urban concentrations than other cities. However, the population change is not thought to be a factor which is interesting because Oregon is a Western state where land is in good condition for living, but because of the size of the state is relatively small, the population of 3.899 million (2012) it is a lot of people to get jobs in such a small place, especially where there aren't any industries that offer job opportunities. 

North Carolina- North Carolina has a high percentage of unemployment because some of it is imported. This is because people move there but don't get a job which has an impact on the unemployment rates. It is also really dependent on the manufacturing industry which was hit hard during the recession. The construction industry went down 1/3 which is 90,000 jobs due to the recession which has contributed to the unemployment. North Carolina has an unemployment rate of 9.2% (2012 National Women's Law Center). 

South Carolina- South Carolina doesn't have a specific industry, whereas Las Vegas has gambling and Pittsburgh has steel, which help to keep the unemployment rate low as there are more jobs for people. The sectors that provide the most jobs in South Carolina have been hit the hardest, these are tourism, construction and manufacturing. Construction alone has lost 2,500 jobs (2008).  

Wyoming- Wyoming has a lower percentage of unemployment because it has a lot of job opportunities and not many people that work there live there (they travel). So this would make the unemployment low because Wyoming is a state for work and not for living in. Wyoming has industries which help to provide jobs for people such as mineral extraction, tourism, agriculture and rural jobs. The unemployment rate has dropped to 3.7% (2014) which is similar to 2008. 

Idaho- In Idaho there was a lot of 'help wanted' signs (2008) which indicates that there wasn't a shortage of jobs, so this is why the unemployment rate is so low. Idaho has an unemployment rate of 4.7 (2014) and is ranked 11. Another factor to the low percentage of unemployment is that the wages are low, so employers can hire more people which makes the unemployment rate low because more people have jobs. 

Iowa- Iowa has a low percentage of unemployment because although it has a huge agriculture industry, it also has jobs in manufacturing, finance, insurance and government services. These different industries have helped to keep the unemployment percentage down because they offer many job opportunities to people. Iowa has an unemployment rate of 6.8% (2012). 

Nebraska- Nebraska has the lowest unemployment percentage of 2009. In 2010 the percentage was 4.8%- still very low! Hellbusch (a man who lives and works in Nebraska) says, "Everybody's got a job". This shows that people who are trying to hire others are really struggling because very few people are not employed. Also, it is common for people to hold multiple jobs, which would mean that if someone lost their job, then they would have a back-up so they wouldn't be unemployed. 

So analysing the map i have noticed that the built up areas have resources already due to the land, whereas the areas which have the least resources already (middle of U.S- The bread-basket) and this makes a difference to the unemployment. Because in places where the unemployment was low was areas where people had to work more in order to get the resources that they needed to live, as they live in rural areas. So more people would get work plus less people live in those areas too, so there is naturally less competition for jobs. But people in the cities and areas where the land is already in perfect living condition means less people need to work in order to get the resources needed to live. And this is a problem because there are a lot more people in the areas which need the least amount of jobs. 

What's also interesting is that the higher percentage of unemployment is along the West Coast, which is also where the most wealthy people in the country are too. 

Agriculture industries seem to offer more jobs, which matches the demographic map because it shows that. Every state has had job losses but some states were better off because they had the right industries, natural resources and skilled workers.