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JOURNAL ENTRY FOR ABBY JONES
Today was a very trying day for me. Although I am beginning to think that I should come to a realization that all of my days are going to be like this day, and the previous days. Am I setting myself up for failure when I hope and pray that times are changing for the better? All day while I am working on the cotton fields I hear men talking about the future. I thought that I knew what this meant. Did I know what this meant, or did I know what I hoped it would mean.? There are so many questions with little answers. As of lately, the answers that I am getting do not seem to be for the better life of an African American Women living in the early 1900's.
Today is Friday, June 4, 1904. More than one hundred years ago African Americans came to this country, in particular in the southern portion of the United States. My grandparents and hundreds others just like them were brought to this country to work for other people, specifically other white people. We were not given decent passage to this country, nor where we given a choice. Many of the African American men and women that came to this country from Africa with my grandparents and their parents died on the journey over to America. There was barely enough food or water. My relatives and their friends were thought of as property not as human beings. But, as I said, today is June 4, 1904, and now my of my group are working on cotton farms in the southern states of the United States. What has changed?
Segregation is still very much a part of my life. Even on the days that I think to myself, "it is a new century. It is no longer the 1800's, life is changing." How is life changing. It was just a few years ago, in 1896, I remember a very very dark and depressing day around these parts of the cotton fields. The court decision of Plessy v. Ferguson provided a legal basis for even more segregation in American Society. How, I keep asking the others in my town, is this improvement. Just as I thought that the new century would bring more choices, more opportunities, it seems that there are more dark, separated days ahead for African Americans. At least the African American Men have a little more freedom to speak, and to work. This is still not the car for African American Women. Why couldn't I be the boss of the men, of other women, dare I say even white men and women.
I guess I shouldn't be too down on my situation. Today was just a long, hot, day and I am feeling sorry for myself. Segregation has been so hard, and on days when the temperature outside reaches 100 degree and I have no choice but to continue working, I get a bit sad. But, there have been improvements. Within the last four years these new Jim Crow Laws do seem to bring a ray of light into my world. Now it is allowed by law to have schools and stores that are for whites only and for blacks only. But, I have to ask myself, "What will the black schools and the stores that blacks are allowed into be like?" Some of the other women that were talking today said that at least blacks are given the right to go to school and to get an education. I suppose this is true. I hope these new laws help us, and make it easier for African Americans to be an equal member of society. I guess only time will tell.
I want to be able to own land, to be able to have my own farm to grow crops and sell the food. How wonderful it would be to not feel like I am being annexed from others. I don't think that my husband realizes that being an African American Women is not at all the same as being an African American man. Men are granted more respect and are more important than women. To be me, and African American Women in 1904, I feel segregation on two different level. In the society that I currently live in, the area of Georgia, in The U.S. I am not given the same legal or moral rights as whites. Then, there is the segregation that women feel by men. African American Women are thought to be at the bottom of importance. I know that it may be dangerous to writ ethos in my journal today, but it feel good to express myself. Although times seem to be getting a little better as each year passes this new century, the fear if violence and rape scares me each and every day. I know of too many African American Women in the past ten years that have been raped by black men for reasons that make no sense. These women are said to be disrespectful to men, and some were said to not work hard enough. This is why when I work each day, I am quiet, and listen to others talk. I myself do not talk unless I am asked a question.
LIving in Hinesville, Georgia, in 1904 has brought about many questions for me. But, I am aware that there will always be questions, and only time will tell what changes, wither good or bad, will be in store for African American Women. I hope and pray that we are ale to gain respect and authority in society. In the meantime, I will work, raise my family, and continue to record the changes that happen in my life.
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