Week 3 Blog: Omeka Items

Item one (visual) : http://omekahst251.jenniferandrella.com/items/show/13

The first source that I chose to use for this week’s blog is a sketch done by J. Wells Chamney in the year 1873. The sketch’s setting is Louisiana, and the sketch itself depicts young African American field workers performing tasks on a sugar plantation as they are watched by a white overseer. I elected this sketch to use as my first item because I believe that it really displays how overpowering and forceful white slave owners were, particularly in the South. The slave children working in the photograph appear to be under the age of 10, while their overseer is a much older man. This significant age gap between the enslaved workers and their overseer demonstrates how overpowered and helpless all the workers must have felt.

An important part of information that I was able to find for this item is the source through which it became available. The sketch was introduced in Edward King and J. Wells Chamney’s book “The Great South”, which features their journey’s across over 10 different states in the South. This book touched on plantation life, but also incorporated many other aspects of history in the South such as industrialization and politics. Based on the name of the book, one would assume that it’s primary audience would be white people who cherish the South and the culture that exists there.

Item two (text) : http://omekahst251.jenniferandrella.com/items/show/15

The second source that I elected to use for my blog is a newspaper which was written by E.K. Love and released in the Savannah Tribune in 1888. The paper was written shortly after the town celebrated the Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and discusses the town’s celebration in detail. Something I found interesting is that although people were celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation, lots of them still believed that blacks and whites should still remain seperate racially and educationally. Unfortunately, a large amount of whites only supported emancipation because they agreed that whites and blacks must work together to build a greater nation. One piece of information that wasn’t available for this source is the rights to it, which is an important piece of information to obtain when using a resource.

After carefully analyzing my sources, there are numerous research questions that have been raised in my mind. Something I’m very curious about is how African Americans living in the United States were affected by the Emancipation Proclamation. How much did their lives change, and how long did it take for their lives to change? Another question I raised while analyzing my sources relates to field workers in the South. After noticing the young age of the field workers in my visual resource, I’m curious what age they usually began working at. Were enslaved children generally put to work at a certain age or a certain maturity level?

One thought on “Week 3 Blog: Omeka Items

  1. These are great historical sources that cover a later time period from the course, but that’s okay! Your analysis of the themes and purpose behind these sources offers important insight and raises a few questions about them as well. What is especially interesting to me about the first source illustrating a “sugar plantation, Louisiana” from roughly 1873-1874 is that it shows how many facets of slavery remained unchanged after the Civil War (1861-1865). Share-cropping, contract labor, and unlivable wages characterized the labor of former enslaved people in the South after the Civil War. At the same time, this illustration is also an example of the myth of the Lost Cause which was formed during this period to reflect on an “Old South” that was “idyllic” and grounded in “heritage” — extra emphasis on the quotes over those words. The formation of this myth was very powerful to white Southerners who continued methods of violence and control against freed Black people.

    I also really like your second source detailing a commemoration event of the Emancipation Proclamation. You also raise an important point– did the lives of enslaved people really change after this momentous legislation? I think this can also be answered by our first source.

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