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“Twenty-five Years in the Black Belt” by William James Edwards Essay

William J. Edwards lived in Snow Hill, Wilcox County in Alabama. Williams’ mother married his father in 1864 and bore three children, two boys and a girl. William was born on 12 September 1869 and was the youngest. Poor education, injustice, and ignorance towards the laws of land were the causes of problems to the South.

“Twenty – Five years in the Black Belt” gives a clear picture of the conditions of the black people and the nature of race relations in Alabama at the time. In addition, the book explores William’s willpower to strengthen his race, particularly through education, through many years of transformation.

William lived in the southern part of the United States that was home for black people hence it name the ‘Black Belt.’ The south of America was highly affected by slave trade because of the presence of the cotton plantations. Poverty, poor education, poor health care, poor housing, high levels of crime and unemployment characterized many black people who settled there.

As a child, he grew up without a mother and a fathers’ love but in the hands of his grandmother from his fathers’ side. In 1880, his grandmother too died leaving him under the care her daughter Marina Rivers. William experienced child labor since he started working at a very tender age to help Marina, his poor aunt. William says, “at times we lacked food yet we had worked from the rising of the sun until dark without anything but water” (15).

Williams’ childhood was that of a typical African American in the nineteen century in the South. William visited the city and faced a life different from the one he was used to in the village. In the city, William got a job in the cotton company. Later on, he fell sick and his aunt took him back to the village. William suffered just like any other Negro in Alabama.

William enjoyed reading his grandmother the bible and his passion for reading books made him to long going to school. He planned to go to a Tuskegee school in 1888. In order to raise his fees, he rented an acre of land and worked on it to acquire the required fees. When his crop was ready, William sold his share and saved the money for his school fees only to spend the money to settle a family bill. He worked in the plantation for another year, he saved enough for his school fees, and finally, he went to Tuskegee school in 1889.

Williams’ experience in Tuskegee was eye opening; for instance, he says, “I found things there very strange indeed” (21). He saw hundreds of students going back and forth. Some were playing football; others were practicing band while others sat doing nothing. Some rough boys in the school molested him.

Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More He felt like running away. However, he met Mr. Washington who changed his room. William loved Mr. Washington as if he was his own father. In the dinning room, William did not know how to use forks and knives. He just watched his fellow students while they ate. When it was time to sleep, he heard boys talking of nightshirts and could not figure out what they meant. William had never seen a nightshirt leave alone wearing any. He knew the idea of using a toothbrush hence it was not hard for him to use one.

Williams did different menial jobs but he enjoyed his stay in school especially given the fact that he could have three meals a day. During his senor classes, he enjoyed Mr. Washington’s lessons for he admired his subject mastery. The completion of hi studies heralded a graduation something that worried Williams greatly for he knew Marina could not afford the Commencement suit. However, he borrowed money from Mr. Simpson and bought his suit. Finally, the big day came and Williams graduated and went home to his aunt

William returned to Snow Hill where he influenced his society as taught in school. He built another room for his aunt. He helped his aunt to clear the weeds, worked for his neighbors’ for food, carried out close research on his people conditions and toured the other neighboring countries, which consisted black families.

This trip revealed to him how the blacks missed many opportunities, abused many constitutional rights; the people were ignorant and illogical. At this point, he thought of an industrial school in the Snow Hill. The school started in a one-room cabin.

Practical arts, English language, simple arithmetic, and Agriculture were the main syllabus items in the institution. According to William “the black belt was a farming area with ninety – fives percent of its habitant depended on agriculture for a livelihood” (35). The main objective of this institution was to enable its community utilize the available resources.

A lot of money was required to fund the school but with the help of his white friends, Mr. Simpson and Booker Washington, Williams e the funds. Mr. Simpson gave him several pieces of land while Booker connected him with his friends. Booker Washington invited Williams for a trip to the North.

Williams was not a singer but Washington saw it as a great opportunity for him to share his Snow Hill school idea with the society. Many of the white liked the idea and they gave him a lot of money, which he invested his school. Through Washington, Williams made a chain of friends who assisted him in raising money for his school.

We will write a custom Essay on “Twenty-five Years in the Black Belt” by William James Edwards specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More He also did house- to – house campaign where he says “…one meets some of the finest people that have ever lived… I don’t think that I am a very successful money raiser… on April 5th, 1906, at the 25th anniversary of Tuskegee…Mr. Andrew Carnegie gave the Snow Hill Institute ten thousand dollars” (Williams 47). Williams dream became a reality. The school moved from a rented cabin to its own land and the number of teachers increased tremendously.

One student who has excelled in music says, “…I was enabled to develop my musical talent to the extent that I was selected to play for my home church, and that inspired other students to attend Snow Hill Institute” (Williams 64). It is a clear indication that Snow Hill School produce good results just like its mentor did.

Williams used the first person narration to depict and provide a snapshot of the African – American experiences in the late nineteen and early twentieth century. Speaking from his experience makes things to appear real to the readers thus convincing them to sympathize with him on his suffering and rejoice over his successes. It is easier to touch the readers’ heart when things appear real. Williams’ style of first person speech has contributed greatly in winning his readers hearts especially when he speaks of his childhood experiences.

Conclusion ‘Twenty –Five years in the Black Belt’ is a great book since the writer, Williams is able to connect with his readers and make them enjoy and appreciate his work. As readers explore the book, they get a clear picture of what happened to Williams as he was growing up; his life challenges and what motivated him to achieve what he has accomplished in life.

According to my opinion, the book motivates the youth to work and influence their society coupled with its unrelenting mantra that even the less advantaged like Williams can still make it in life provided they weather the storms and remain focused in pursuit of their goals.

Works Cited Edwards, William James. Twenty-Five Years in the Black Belt. Boston: The Cornhill Company, 1869.

Free Speech /First Amendment Essay (Critical Writing)

Nursing Assignment Help Table of Contents Introduction

Types of Speeches


Right to pornography


Work Cited

Introduction There were times when people would be imprisoned for speaking out their minds. Speech is one form of communication of thought, ideas and beliefs. Without the freedom of speech people can be forced to accept things that are stated by the society.

In England for instance, during the 16th century Henry VII was taken to prison for speaking his mind, at the time it was a crime that was punishable by death. Freedom of speech allows personal ideas to be expressed freely; more so the freedom of speech in the United States governed by the first amendment of the constitution other than communication also covers public acts like parades demonstration, artist expressions and pickets.

First Amendment in the United States constitution protects the freedom of speech (Tedford 123). Government condemnation and advocacy ideas that are not popular which people find without taste and against public policy for example racism and chauvinism are always unacceptable.

Child pornography laws, Miller test for obscenity and speeches that may result to lawless actions are some of the exceptions in the general protection. In these areas there are limitations of free speech and other rights like rights of inventor and authors over their copyright. In US a graduated system is followed in regulating freedom of speech. In the First Amendment diverse types of regulation are subject to analysis in court challenges.

Types of Speeches There are different types of speeches; the first is core political speech the most guarded form due to its communicative nature and its function to a republic that is functional (Mike 65). It is a speech about political issues and ideas that are not motivated by profit; the restrictions in this kind of speech must be well analyzed or else they can be struck down. Another kind of speech is commercial speech, in this kind it is not wholly protected although it is regulated by the state (Mike).

There are some exceptions to freedom of expression. Many of these have been identified by the court and in many cases without controversy. Courts justified them as speeches which could harm the public or speeches that the fore fathers had no intention of protecting or just customs that had been part of common law tradition from England where the American legal system is derived.

Exceptions Obscenity is one of the exceptions, according to the US Miller Test, obscenity is a test used by Supreme Court to determine if an expression or a speech can be termed obscene and whether it can be protected by the first amendment of the constitution (Tedford 124). This is speech that describes sexual conduct in very offensive way and it can also be described as pornography.

Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More Defamation is another exception and consists of publication of report of a fact that is untrue and can harm the reputation of another person. The freedom of expression has restrictions where ones expressions can harm the reputation of another person. An allegation of fact is a requirement in defamation that is false while the expression of an opinion is not defamation.

Right to pornography This topic on pornography has had a lot of discussions in the United States for many years. For people would want the legislation to regulate it and would also like to have software that would filter it.

The greatest problem is that it is not easy to make laws that would go against it because by doing so someone would be challenging the first amendment. In any case so many issues have been raised that include claims that it demoralizes women and it’s filthy to be seen by the children. The main question is whether pornography is really harmful (Emerson). There are some reasons why the government finds it difficult to put restriction on pornography.

In social theory and in practice Emerson states that there is no enough reason as to why some people would find some material unpleasant and try to give restrictions on those materials (Emerson). In order to have restrictions on such materials there is need to have appropriate ground to make such laws so as to prevent the distribution of pornographic material because by looking at it from any perspective it is against the laws of free speech as outlined by the first amendment.

There is disagreement among traditional liberal defenders regarding discarding the principles of legal paternalism and legal moralism mostly in cases where people above eighteen year are concerned (Emerson). This does not mean that they approve obscenity they actually find it offensive and mindless.

Most people admit that the major function of pornography is to cause sexual arousal to viewers which can be regarded as low value speech. This is a speech that does not contribute anything that is artistic, intellectual, literal or of any political merit to the social and moral environment (Emerson).

On the contrary it does not mean that it need not be protected. It is strongly believed that mature and healthy adults are free to pursue their own pleasures privately and that the opinion of others on whether it is right or wrong to do so is intrusive or uncalled for. The implication is that what many find moral should not be allowed in law to hold back rebellious minority opinions so as to force their moral beliefs on others.

We will write a custom Critical Writing on Free Speech /First Amendment specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More Today the first amendment that protects freedom of speech is viewed by many liberals as a fundamental right that cannot be regulated by government. But it is acceptable and expected for the State to intervene and regulate speech when it is used to cause harm.

There is no known way for determining the harm caused to others so as to justify what legal action that should be taken in case of such speech. To arrive at a decision whether or not to restrict speech in such a case, the nature and impact of harm caused is weighed against the interest of those involved (Emerson). This is then compared to the benefits and costs of an alternative policy that should be undertaken. If any speech goes against the interest of the majority of the public and its benefit minimal it should be restricted.

Conclusion The first amendment is of great importance since without it, citizens in the US would not be given a chance by the US government to be heard. For democracy to change and grow the citizens should be allowed to voice their ideas. Without the first amendment there would be no words in music, it would also be difficult to print publications freely, there would be no going to groups and attending organizations and lastly everyone would belong to the same religion.

Without the first amendment US could be very corrupt since there would be no press which serves the function of a watchdog. This is because the five fundamental freedoms which are essential and accomplished through the amendment would not be possible.

Work Cited Mike, Godwin. “Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age”. New York: Times Books. 1998. Print.

Tedford, Thomas. “Freedom of speech in the United States”. Carbondale: Southern Illinois, 1985. Print.

Emerson, Thomas . “Toward a General Theory of the First Amendment.”The Yale Law Journal Company, 14.2 (1963): 123-132.