Referencing Angela Davis’ article, please explore the multiple reasons why working and middle class White women became involved with the anti-slavery movement?
Originally, those who campaigned against racism and inequality justified mass action and public activism based on the responsibility of speaking on behalf of their sisters in bondage. The womenfolk who had been put to slavery did not have any forums or public chances through which they could express loathe and outrage. The working class and middle class white women therefore believed it was there responsibility to speak out on the atrocities and inhumanities of slavery being committed against their fellow sisters on their behalf.
As Angela Davis has suggested in her anti-slavery discourse the white women felt identified with their black counterparts and felt like it were one of them who was being victimized. Another contributing factor was the figure of a female slave who was depicted as kneeling and chained. This was to become a powerful symbol for nurturing support to the abolition cause. The image highlighted the inequality and the subordination both the black and white women.
This relationship between the enslaved black women and the white women became established in many of the American states. This led to an emerging women’s rights movement. The interdependence between the antislavery rights and the women equality agenda enabled the womenfolk to make impeccable advances in the realm of women right’s advocacy. The black and white women folk shared common social impedance that enabled them to forge alliances in their struggles to overcome them.
During these times, the two engaged together in overcoming the inhumanity of slavery and emancipation from their status as second-class citizens in a male patriarchy. This marked the first time in the history of the western nations that black and white women worked in alliance for the achievement of a common good. This therefore led to the engagement of many white women in anti-slavery movements. This was highly essential for the abolishment efforts since it offered a platform for airing the underlying oppressive activities in America (Davis, 2008).
Other plights such as the one by Sojourner Truth, who was an ex-slave, heightened the need for the white women to join in the abolishing movement. At an 1851 convention where all those in attendance were white except for one black woman, Sojourner Truth, a speech was given by the latter that highlighted on the need for the white women to fight against slavery. In her speech, she stated that she had engaged in roles such as planting and gathering that no man could do better, she worked and ate as much as any man and to the extent of bearing the lash.
During all these times, she stated that she was still a woman. To add to this, she stated that she had also born thirteen children seeing them sold into slavery as well; a fete no man could do. Her speech simply implied that not all women were white and neither privileged nor endowed and although she was an African American, she was no less of a woman in comparison to the other white women who had attended the meeting. The aspect of her race, her social status, finances, could have been different from theirs but this could not deny her womanhood (Davis, 2008).
The womenfolk especially from the working class and the middle class highly sympathized with this and identified with it since they also had several hurdles to surmount. They identified that even they themselves belonged to different social quos and financial levels but this could not form a basis of denying them their womanhood.
Davis, Angela Y. Women, Race and Class. Princeton, N.J: Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, 2008. Sound recording.