African American Equality

1314 Words 6 Pages
The values of the United States of America have not always been what they are today. Equality, has not always applied to everyone, however, another value of the United States, progress and change, aided in the development of the value of equality for all. The following speeches: Maria W. Stewart advocates for the education of African-American women, Mary Church Terrell’s “The Progress of Colored Women”, and Congresswoman Barbara Jordan’s “Who, Then, Will Speak for the Common Good” show the increasing amount of equality and opportunities black women in the United States obtained and the United States’ progressing tolerance for them.
Maria W. Stewart, born as a free black woman, delivered a speech to the African American Female Intelligence Society,
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She delivered a speech entitled “The Progress of Colored Women” at the Berlin International Congress of Women in 1904. Giving the speech in German, French, and English, Terrell was the only black woman at the conference (Mary Church Terrell). By delivering the speech in 3 different languages, Terrell depicts the educational progress of black women, which she cites, in her speech, as one of the ways black women have progressed. The purpose of the speech was to familiarize a foreign audience with the “obstacles encountered by colored women in their effort to educate and cultivate themselves, since they became free…” (Terrell) and to show the progress made by black women. In order to relay to the foreign audience the strides made by black women, Terrell removes any form of bias-ness by referring to black women as “they”, even though she, herself, identifies as a black …show more content…
Stewart’s speech advocating for the education of black women, Mary Church Terrell’s “The Progress of Colored Women”, and Barbara Jordan’s “Who, Then, Will Speak for the Common Good” chronologically, represent the progression of equality in the United States. In 1832, African-Americans had no rights, were segregated from whites, and lacked opportunities. To help change this disturbing reality, Maria W. Stewart stressed the importance of education for black women who were free, since they had more opportunities than slaves. Later on, in 1904, Mary Church Terrell explains to a foreign audience how far black women have come, however they still face obstacles from those who wanted them to remain oppressed. Seventy-two years later, in 1976, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan addresses the Democratic Party at the Democratic National Convention. What makes Jordan’s speech so important is not specifically the actual content, but the historical context. A black woman was not only elected as a member of Congress, but was also deemed sufficient enough to address a party that, historically, looked down upon African Americans. Now enters present day America, where, as of 2014, black women are the most educated group in the United States, according to data collected by the National Center of Education Statistics (For Harriet). This fact, along with the 3 speeches analyzed, clearly show that, thanks to the United States’ value of progress and change, the value of equality

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