civil disobedience essay xname xname xname
What Thoreau brought on the table was not just the question of political liberty but more importantly the question of ‘consent’. It is natural to fight for one’s own freedom and dignity but Thoreau reminds those who consider themselves to be free, that they have a moral and an ethical obligation to fight for the rights and freedom of those who are enslaved in their names. Being white in America had its advantages and having a good education even more so. Thoreau was a free man in Massachusetts, but asked himself the big question- could he be a free citizen of America, when there continued to be a legal system in place for holding at ransom the freedom and dignity of millions of black people? On July 4, 1854 after the conviction in Boston of the fugitive slave Anthony Burns, Thoreau delivered a passionate lecture at an Anti-Slavery Celebration, at Framingham, Massachusetts, condemning the repulsive Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. This act forged as a compromise between the southern slave holding states and northern ‘Free’ Soilers, allowed for the capture and return of runaway slaves to their rightful owners in the South. In his speech, Thoreau furiously refuses to be party to this gruesome act of capture—
Thoreau, Henry David. ‘Civil Disobedience’. Walden and Other Writings. Ed. Joseph Wood Crutch. New York: Bantam, 1854. 89-110
Subsequently, Italy and France formed a Franco-Italian Alliance in 1935 to guarantee Austrian independence. Union of Austria with Germany (Anschluss) was forbidden in the Treaty of Versailles.
The Council of Europe, established in 1949, was another step forward in political cooperation. The process of economic integration of European capitalist countries proceeded step by step escalating the cold war.
As Ilan Stavans, the editor, so aptly put it: “[Acosta’s] anarchism has been glorified and ridiculed and his misogynist views have been consistently attacked by feminists.” And with good reason.
In one case, he challenged the county’s grand jury system. Flamboyantly deposing Superior Court judges, he found that 178 of them had nominated 1,501 people to the grand jury, of which only 20 had Spanish surnames. Nearly 92% of the judges had never nominated a Spanish-surnamed person. Acosta’s angry brief is just as pertinent today as it was in 1969.
Cooper, who remembers that at the time that blacks did not live north of 13th Street, likened the transformation of Malcolm X to that of the U.S. Supreme Court, which had a decade earlier struck down school segregation in the Brown v. Board of Education landmark ruling.
Cooper, who in 1967 at the age of 18 entered Yale University, recalled becoming “politicized” amid the rhetoric – and assassinations – of men such as King, Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert.
The tension between Smith and Ruffin is a symptom of the disciplinary tension between environmental history and ecocriticism. For the ecocritic, Smith’s account of African-American environmental history could benefit from close textual analysis of African-American writing. For the environmental historian, Ruffin’s close readings of various cultural texts could benefit from a richer account of historical context. This tension between history and aesthetics (or, for literary critics, close textual analysis) is also there in the distance between African-American literary criticism and ecocriticism. Foley, for example, employs a Marxist historicism in Specters of 1919 , in which African-American literary production of the early 1920s reflect the racialized class struggle and revolutionary fervor of those years. Just as a merger between environmental history and ecocriticism would be fruitful, so too 9 would a synthesis of African-American literary criticism’s historicist emphasis with ecocriticism’s attention to ecological aesthetics and the environmental imagination.
In pursuit of these questions, this book explores how the color line and the ecological line—the line that runs between humans and their environment—parallel, intersect, and veer apart by soldering African-American writing to the histories of the environment (especially the Southern environment), the conservation movement, and the rise of scientific ecology. Civil Rights and the Environment contributes to our understanding of how the politics of civil rights and the environment converged in the black literary imagination. “White Things” offers only one such example of this convergence.