Literacy and Liberation AP Synthesis Essay

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This essay is about the comparison of literacy and liberation, and what my views are. This was an assignment for class and I received an A. I just thought I would share it with you guys. Hope you like it. -Kiara Gooden

Submitted: March 02, 2014

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Submitted: March 02, 2014



Do you remember being a child and learning to read, having someone go over vowel sounds? Reading to you, putting things in dummy terms for you to understand? Do you know how hard it is to do anything without being able to read? No, because you never had to think about life that way. Well, what does literacy mean to you? What about liberation? Do these words mean anything to you? Maybe not, but they mean lots to those African Americans who longed for it and wasn't given the opportunity to have it.

Literacy is the ability to read and write. Liberation is to release from slavery, oppression, enemy occupation, and many more. Literacy and liberation are common because literacy gives you a bit of freedom by it being an ability of doing something. The word ability means possession of the means or skill to do something. If you have the skill to do something, it is a way of freedom. Literacy is an ability to do something that was not normally given to African Americans. Freedom means the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. If someone cannot read or write, then they are imprisoned to someone else's rules or guidelines. If you are not literate, it must mean someone else is doing what you could do for yourself, for you. It is almost like being handicap, not able to do for yourself just because the lack of education.

As in The Narrative of an American Slave, Frederick Douglass expresses his feelings and experience in being a slave and wanting to learn. "I now understood what had been to me a most perplexing difficulty-to wit, the white man's power to enslave the black man.”It was a grand achievement, and I prized it highly." Frederick Douglass was not literate, but he had common sense. He realized the power that a man had over him just because the color of his skin. A white man did not want to see a black man read, write, or even succeed in life. Douglass felt that he was at the top of the standard from the white man's plan for black men. But as Douglass states," From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom. It was just what I wanted, and I got it at a time when I least expected it," he had a better understanding of being a black man in a white man's society. His understanding of that, gave him wisdom on how to live.

"The first step had been taken. Mistress, in teaching me the alphabet, had given me the inch and no precaution could prevent me from taking the ell." Since Frederick started to learn a little bit, there was no stopping him. These actions of Frederick Douglass reminds me of the ways of Frances E.W. Harper in the poem, "Learning to Read." Her experience was different, but in a way, a comparison. She described how slavery is coming to an end and it was important that the slaves had a bit of knowledge. "Very soon the Yankee teachers came down -and set up school; but, oh! How the Rebs did hate it- it was agin' their rule." Acknowledging that teachers were going to help the slaves, we know that slavery was at the transcending moment. "Our masters always tried to hide book learning from our eyes; knowledge didn't agree with slavery- 'twould make us all too wise. But some of us would try to steal a little from the book, and put the words together, and learn by hook or crook." The slaves realized that they weren't free unless they had the education that whites never allowed them to receive.

Freedom requires determination. Freedom requires faith. Freedom requires believing and never giving up. Frances had determination to become free. I know because she says, "And I longed to read my Bible, for the precious words it said; but when I begun to learn it, folks just shook their heads, and said there is no use trying; oh! Chloe, you're too late; but as I was rising sixty, I had no time to wait." Regardless of doubts of everyone around her, she never gave up. There was no stopping her! After all the hassle and struggle of learning to read, in the end she did succeed. At the end of the poem she tells us," then I got a little cabin- a place to call my own- and I felt as independent as a queen upon her throne."

Reading that poem brings me to my last source, the Holy Bible. Never really knew that there was black history in the bible, but I did my research. In the book of Galatians chapter five, verse one, it states, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." We were claimed to free by Christ, so that means whatever the color of our skin may be, should not matter. Yet, this nation isn't on a solid foundation set on religion or the knowledge of God like some of us. Liberation was already ours, we just weren't aware of it because we are ignorant we it comes to the word of God.

Buses for whites and buses for coloreds, white schools and black schools. It is unfair that people that were created by the same God, are treated differently even when we were made the same. The colors of our skin should not matter when it comes to liberty. No man, black or white, should be able to take away another man's rights. Galatians 5: 13-15 says," For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! "This scripture tells me that liberty is given to all of us, it's just the way we use it. Whites used their freedom to take ours away. The fight they gave African Americans only made them stronger, while their whips got weaker and weaker. In the end, blacks did win. We earned our liberation and literacy.

© Copyright 2017 KiaraGooden. All rights reserved.

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