Women’s Roles Then and Now Essay

PROJECT PAPER WOMEN’S ROLE THEN ;amp; NOW: SCRIPT HUMANITIES WORLD CULTURES KIM CARTER PROFESSOR, CHERI REISER AUGUST 26, 2012 Women’s Role Then ;amp; Now: Script Roles women should play in society on today ladies we will be listening to two Notable Women from the 19th century on the roles women should play in society so let’s pay close attention to these two women of yesterday and embraces what they have to say on the roles women should play in society.

Sojourner Truth: Hello ladies my name is Sojourner Truth and I have been asked to share with you about myself and the roles women should play with in society.Well I was born as a slave as Isabella Baumfree, in Ulster County, New York, around 1787 I was one of twelve children that was born to James and Elizabeth Baumfree. My family and I were owned by Colonel Hardenbergh who later die and ownership of my family and I was turned over to his son Charles. Ladies it did not stop there. I was sold at an auction at the age of 9 years old with a flock of sheep for $100. By the age of 12 I had a new owner John Dumont at West Park, New York. It was during my stay there I learned to speak English.

In 1817 Dumont compelled me to marry an older slave named Thomas and we produced one son Peter, and two daughters Elizabeth and Sophia. In 1826 while waiting on the emancipation of slavery I escaped along with my infant daughter Sophia leaving my other two children behind. Shortly after my escape I learned that Peter my 5 year old son had been sold illegally to a man in Alabama. I managed to take the case to Court and eventually secured Peter’s return from the South. The case is said to be the first in which a black women successfully challenged a white man in a United States court.

My early years of freedom was marked by several strange hardships having converted to Christianity, I moved with my son Peter to New York City in 1829, there I worked as a house keeper for a Christian Evangelist Elijah Pierson. I moved on to the home of Robert Matthews also known as Matthias Kingdom or Prophet Matthias where I worked as a domestic. On June 1, 1843 I Isabella Baumfree changed my name to Sojourner Truth, devoting my life to Methodism and abolition of slavery. In 1844, I joined the Northampton association of education and Industry in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Founded by abolitionists, the organization supported a broad reform agenda including women’s rights and pacifism all members lived together on 500 acres as a self-sufficient community. During this time I came in contact with several leading abolitionist such as William Lloyd Garrison, Fredrick Douglas and David Gurgles. In 1846 although the Northampton Community disbanded my career as an activists and reformer was just beginning. In 1850 William Lloyd Garrison published my memoirs under the title” The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave”.Since I could not read or write I dictated my recollections to a friend. I went on to speak at the first National Women’s Rights Convention in Akron. The extemporaneous speech, recorded by several observers, would come to be known as “Ain’t I a Woman? ” My tours continued in Ohio from 1851 to 1853 working closely with Marius Robinson to publicize the antislavery movement in the state. My main focus during my tour in Ohio was to seek political equality for all women and chastise the abolitionist community for failing to seek out civil rights for black women as well as men.

During the Civil War I put my beliefs to action by helping to recruit black troops for the Union Army. I was able to encourage my grandson, James Caldwell to enlist in the 54th Massachusetts’s Regiment. In 1854 I was called to Washington, D.

C. to contribute to the National Freedman’s Relief Association, where I had the opportunity to meet and speak with President Abraham Lincoln about what I believed in and my experience. (www.

biography. com). Spokes Woman for Women of Today Ladies let’s give attention now to our next Notable woman as she gives us a background of herself.Florence Nightingale: Greetings women of today it gives me great pleasure to be here to help encourage women of today’s society and give insight of the women in my society but first something about me and my journey. I was born on May 12, 1820 in Florence Italy. I was the younger of two children. My affluent British family belonged to an elite social circle.

From a very young age I was active in philanthropy, ministering to the ill and poor people in the village neighboring my family’s estate. By the time I was 16 years of age, it was clear that nursing was my calling and my divine purpose.Happy with my calling and purpose I approached my parents and told them about my ambition to become a nurse, they were not pleased. In fact my parents forbade me to pursue nursing.

During the Victorian Era or society social stature was expected to marry a man of means and not to take up a job this was viewed a lowly menial labor by the upper social classes. When I was 17 year of age, I refused a marriage proposal from a suitable gentleman, Richard Monckton Milnes. I explained my reason for turning him down, he stimulate me intellectually and romantically, my” moral, active nature requires satisfaction and in this life I would not find”.I was determined to pursue my true calling despite my parent’s objection; in 1844 I enrolled as a nursing student at the Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Kaiserwreth, Germany.

In early 1850s I returned to London where I took a nursing job in Middlesex hospital for ailing governesses. There my performance impressed my employer so that he promoted me to superintendent within just a year of being hired. I must say that the position was challenging as I grappled with a Cholera outbreak and unsanitary condition conductive to the rapid spread of the disease.I made it my mission to improve hygiene practices, significantly lowering the death rate at the hospital.

The hard work took a tool on my health I barely recovered when the biggest challenge of y nursing career presented itself. In October 1853, the Crimean War broke out The British Empire was at war against the Russian Empire for control of the Ottoman Empire. Thousands of British soldiers were sent to the Black Sea, where supplies quickly dwindled. By 1854, no fewer than 18,000 soldiers had been admitted into military hospitals. At that time there were no female nurses stationed at hospitals in the Crimea.The poor reputation of past female nurses had led war office to avoid hiring more after the Battle of Alma, England was in a uproar about the neglect of their ill and injured Soldiers, who not only lacked sufficient medical attention due to hospital being horribly unsanitary and inhumane conditions. In late 1854, I received a letter from Secretary of war Sidney Herbert asking me to organize a corps of nurses to tend to sick and fallen soldiers in the Crimea. I rose to my calling and quickly assembled a team of 34 nurses from a variety of religious orders, and sailed with them to the Crimea just a few days later.

In the evenings I would move through the dark hallways carrying a lamp while making my rounds ministering to patient after patient. The soldiers who were both moved and confronted by my endless supply of compassion, took to me and called me “The Lady with the Lamp”. While some soldiers called me the “The Angel of the Crimea”. By me caring and being compassionate reduced the hospitals death by two-thirds. In addition to vastly improve the sanitary conditions of the hospital, I created a number of patient services that contributed to improving the quality of their hospital stay.I then went on to institute the creation of an “invalid kitchen” where appealing food for patients with special dietary requirements was cooked.

I also established a laundry so that patients would have clean linens. Not to forget I also instituted a classroom and library for patient’s intellectual stimulation and entertainment. Based on my observation in the Crimea, I wrote “Notes on Matters affecting the Health, Efficiency and Hospital Administration of the British Army” an 830-page report analyzing my experience and proposing reforms for other military hospitals operating under poor conditions.The book would spark a total restricting of the war Office’s administration department, including the establishment of a royal Commission for Health of the Army in 1857. Once the Crimea War was over I returned to my childhood home at Lea Hurst and I received a hero’s welcome not only that I received a heartfelt welcome I also received a reward from The Queen for my work by presenting me with an engraved broach that became known as the “Nightingale Jewel” and granting me a prize of $250,000 from the British government. I decided to use the money to further my cause.In 1860 I funded the establishment of St. Thomas’ Hospital and within it the Nightingale Training School for Nurses.

Eager to follow my example, even women from the wealthy upper classes started enrolling at the training school. Thanks to me nursing was no longer frowned upon by the upper classes; it had, in fact, come to be viewed as an honorable vocation. (www. biography.

com). Spokeswoman of Women Today Thank you Ms. Sojourner Truth and Ms. Florence Nightingale for sharing with us your background and the contributions you gave in your society that has made a difference in today.

Now we want to hear from you two notable women on the historical status for women in general during the time period you lived in. Sojourner Truth: Historical the status for the women in my time was that they were to dedicate to their husbands and family with no voice on major matters. As for the black women there were no rights for them to vote, no access to education in general this also applied to white women as well except they were not owned by slave owners, just had to govern themselves as the weaker vessel of man.

Florence Nightingale: Sojourner you are so right we were governed by the same status and the one thing that made it different was our skin color and you were classified as a slave and owned by a master. The white women were bound by the rules of society letting the man rule everything and women had to struggle to obtain an education for men were the leaders of the working field and in education. Women across the country had few property rights. (www. historycentral. com). Sojourner Truth: Florence you were right and just because I was black and you were white me feel that all women in our society were bound by slavery in some kind of way.Spokeswoman for the Women of Today: How interesting ladies to know that both of you being from the 19th century one being born into slavery and the other born in an elite social society that at some point due to the status of women you both experienced slavery in some way or the other having no rights to vote, no education rights, letting the man be the head and women having no voice.

Ok Ladies we the women of today want to know your opinion that you might have on the roles that women should play in society during your lifetime.Florence Nightingale: The opinion that I have is that women should have in their minds and heart to take a stand to get the rights that are due to them and then go on to push other women to see that they too have the right to marry who they want and be involved within the society and country to make it better and be a productive member of society equally to men. I also feel that whatever dream you have remain determined and pursue. (The Humanities: Culture, Continuity and Change, Volume 2, Second Edition by Henry M.

Sayre, pages 1061-1067) Sojourner Truth: Again Florence I agree with you on pushing to get equal opportunity for women as men have and not just sitting in the background. Now my opinion is that women in my time should get a spirit of freedom within themselves and take a stand to be heard and walk in their rights a women needs to come from behind or sides and take a stand out front and be heard. Even though society and the country forbids us form a lot especially black women who have to constantly fight for the rights of being a human being instead of being judge by the color of their skin which as hinders them from freedom as well.Spokeswomen for Women of Today: Well ladies we have enjoyed hearing from you so far and we are making mental notes from the both of you.

Now ladies I know that time is far spent but we have one question left. What might you think about women’s current roles? Florence Nightingale: You know I have been waiting for a question of this kind for as I tolled and fought for the rights of women to get an education to work as a nurse in the medical field, walk in their rights and get from behind the scene and help build a bright future for our country.I see that my work is not in vain for the torch that I carried as I became a nurse and the values that I worked and walked in to help make life better for women that want to pursue a dream as mine to help make the life of the sick better. It makes my heart overjoyed to see or know that the women of today have taken a stand and excels in their rights as women; you now can be anything you want without the struggle that Sojourner and I had to encounter.So my advice too you women of today is know who you are, find you place in this world and Stand for something so that the work of the Notable women before you want be in vain.

Sojourner Truth: Florence you captured my heart as you spoke to the women of today and I am also glad to know that the struggle I went through as a slave bound by man seeking, and fighting for freedom and what’s right to mankind being able to serve our country in many ways that are possible as equal to man.Women of today the current roles that you carry are valued by others and you should be determined to make a difference in your life and someone else. Appreciate the Notable women before you who have walked the rocky roads so that you can be Lawyers, Politician’s, Nurses, Doctors, teachers, and etc. It does not matter what you do just as long as you exercise in your rights and please keep standing for what’s right. It is time to embrace the freedom that you have to be able to do your current role never be bound by what you don’t do as a Women of Today.Spokeswoman for Women of Today: I must say on the behalf of all the Women of today that I am overwhelmed by the strength that these two women had as they struggled to make a difference for women then as it spilled over into today. I can only imagine the struggle, frustration that sat in, the lack of patience but these two women and others have found strength to go on to fight for what they believed in even on their death beds.

So I say to the Women of Today let’s find our place, know the role that you play, let’s be an inspiration to each other and find strength to go on, as we hope for a better future.Women take a stand for the road has been paved centuries ago by Notable Women that we heard from many more. Take a stand for something so you won’t fall for anything. You have that Right!!! THE END References The Humanities: Culture, Continuity and Change, Volume 2, Second Edition, by Henry M Sayre, pg. 1061-1067. Florence Nigthingale.

(2012). Biography. com. Retrieved Aug 17, 2012 from http://www. biography. com/people/florence-nightingale-9423539 Sojourner Truth.

(2012). Biography. com. Retrieved Aug 17, 2012 from http://www. biography.

com/people/sojourner-truth-9511284 www. historycentral. com