por Maria W. Stewart
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Learning to Read
- Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Francis Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911) was the child of free African American parents. In her adult life, Harper helped slaves escape through the Underground Railroad and wrote for abolitionist newspapers. In this poem, Harper describes what it was like to have been discouraged from learning how to read.Pair “‘Why Sit Here and Die’ Speech” with “Learning to Read” and ask students to discuss the common complaints the two women have regarding the treatment of African Americans. How does each woman feel that African Americans can overcome adversity? If these women could have a conversation, what would they have to say to each other about literacy?
Opposition to the Women's Rights Movement
This piece, written anonymously—though it is suspected that John L. O’Sullivan (1813–1895) may have authored this text—was submitted to The Democratic Review in 1852. It was designed as a rebuttal to Dr. Dewey, who, in defense of women’s rights, denied Biblical justification for the subjugation of women to their husbands.Pair “‘Why Sit Here and Die’ Speech” with “Opposition to the Women’s Rights Movement” and ask students to consider if this anonymous author would agree or disagree with Stewart that women and African Americans became products of their environment. Why or why not? If these two authors met, what might they discuss or debate? Ask students to create a debate stance from the perspective of the speech against the opinion or vice versa.
George W. Harkins to the American People
- George W. Harkins
In an open letter to the American people, Choctaw chief George W. Harkins expresses his opinion about the Indian removals.Pair “Why Sit Here and Die?” with “George W. Harkins to the American People” and ask students to compare the authors’ points of view. How do Harkins and Stewart view oppression? What choice do they have, if at all, to resist it? What role does education play in both texts?