As Long as There Is Jim Crow, It’s Picket Lines for The Negro


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Calhoun 1 Breanna Ja Nae Calhoun SWC 100 Aug 9 2009 As Long as There Is Jim Crow It s Picket Lines for The Negro The two New York Times articles in June 1949 Picket City Hall and 38 Dockers Stage Sit Down at Union evaluate the issues in which African American workers were faced with by their employers The Picket City Hall article is a follow up story of the article 38 Dockers Stage Sit Down at Union and is printed just two weeks and one day after the first article which was June 7 1949 The June 7 1949 article opens up the story about how Negro workers picketed by holding a sit down outside of the International Longshoremen s Association ILA office on 265 West Fourteenth Street due to unequal privileges of White and Colored workers The Negros knew the mistreatment was a result of Jim Crow and being that the majority of the Local 968 workers were Negros they felt that they deserved to be given the same rights as the few White workers But since employment then became an issue with Negro workers they were determined to use what LITTLE rights they had and voice their opinions by picketing The article written two weeks later Picket City Hall sums up the results of the previous picketing this involved brawls that the police had to stop These articles represents how although workers know their rights the White men who hold superior positions will not acknowledge them and grant Blacks the legal and constitutional rights they were given centuries ago on September 17 1787 The Negro workers are just taken in circles of the many highly positioned White men in offices in which they all say they basically will not budge because they have nothing to do with it Calhoun 2 The starting article of the long drawn out story 38 Dockers Stage Sit Down at Union begins with clarifying the reason why the Negro workers decided to sit in in the ILA office for five hours They did this because Negro workers were not being given jobs on the Brooklyn Waterfront Also later on in the article readers realize that the Local 968 Negro Longshoremen got involved because Mr Ryan White superior man in a highly positioned job as an Executive lied and said that They referring to the Black picketers are doing it because I won t knock a lot of people off the job in Brooklyn and give the jobs to their friends Then Mr Ryan went on to say But the people in this local referring to the Local 968 which is predominately Black workers in the ILA are getting more work and a better deal now than any other local and the records will prove it His statement aggravated the Black members of the Local 968 because by this Mr Ryan explained that it meant 511 of the 700 members of Local 968 would receive vacations this year and come under the ILA welfare plan It was explained that a member must have worked 800 hours to get one week s vacation This upset the Black workers of the Local 968 and Ferdinand C Smith who is the executive secretary of the Harlem Trade Union Council and former international secretary of the National Maritime Union because they all knew that everything Mr Ryan said about the benefits for the Local 968 workers were lies and Mr Smith even goes as far as calling Mr Ryan a liar He said this because he was certain that the Local 968 workers were not getting a better deal than the workers of other local because the Local 968 consisted of mostly Blacks The Black workers at this point were really upset and even risked their jobs to express their opinions Calhoun 3 The tone of the article is rather a monotone one The author is not biased to the situation and he she appears to have a sense of sympathy for the Negro workers who are out of work do Jim Crowism 38 Dockers 55 The author just strikes the reader as a white woman just because the fact that there seem to be some kind of emotion behind the article This is because women are more emotional than men and have the natural intuition to think of other peoples feelings especially children and men but not so much for other women and at the time Blacks were not usually writing in papers or magazines unless they were extremely famous popular like Hughes It appears to have been written verbatim as the people spoke and did every action It is as if the author feels the pain of the Negro workers because there were several sentences in which the author could have chosen a different approach or diction but chose the specific diction because her emotions got tied into the situation For example she said They declared that they would stage a sitdown for fortyeight hours if necessary to gain consideration of their demand for equal working privileges on the city s piers 38 Dockers 55 She could have easily said Negros threatened to hold a sitdown for 2 days in order to get consideration for equal working rights on the city s piers These two sentences state the exact same idea but the diction changes the view of the author The original statement allows the reader to know that the author is not targeting the Black picketers The sentence that the author could have said tells the reader that the author is against what the Black picketers are doing By saying Negros threatened is putting the Blacks into a stereotypical viewpoint in which they always have to result to violence when dealing with a situation instead of handling it in the proper manner not to mention that by starting the sentence off with Negro would Calhoun 4 have seemed to be a little inappropriate By saying 48 hours and not 2 days the author not only make the Black workers seem intelligent she makes herself as well This is because an average person may prefer to know how many days a certain situation was held and an intellectual knows that it is more accurate to account for the hours because if something carries from nightfall to dawn it can be considered to take place over the course of two days which is true but in all actuality it may have only lasted for a couple of hours Also because she chose to sat privileges and not rights this let the reader know that the Black workers where aware that what the White workers were getting was more than a right which is what they are all entitled to but something in which is a favorable circumstance This is besides the fact that the white men still will not take heed to the Black people being aware of their rights and calling out for them to be granted to them The follow up article Picket City Hall goes into further detail as to what originally happened at the sit down two weeks ago It basically gives an over view as to what has become of the situation at this point It tells the reader that the Black workers picket for yet another hour this time outside of the City Hall since the executives of the businesses claim to have nothing to do with why the Black workers are out of jobs This article s tone seems to be an informative one that is very direct trying to get straight to the point and purpose of what is being said The author appears to be the same White woman of the first article just because it has many similarities The 38 Dockers Stage Sit Down at Union article states a demonstration against alleged discrimination in the distribution of work on the Brooklyn waterfront a controversy over employment between Local 968 composed of mostly Negros and Jim Crowism While the article Calhoun 5 Picket City Hall states End Discrimination on the Waterfront two organizations have contended that the ILA was discriminating against Negro longshoremen members of Brooklyn Local 968 and Jim Crow policies All of these statements resemble each other and mean the same thing It is illegal to take someone s words and rewrite them as your own especially in a news article because it is plagiarism so for it to be that similar allows the reader to know that both articles were composed by the same author Not to mention the fact that both articles were published in the same Magazine New York Times two weeks from each other and on the same page of the magazine 55 Obviously Langston Hughes and Roy DeCarava were thinking the exact same thing about Black people picketing on the city s streets in Harlem in The Sweet Flypaper of Life page 79 Hughes photo of Black men and women picketing in a picket line of a building represents how the two articles of the Negro picketers may have represented truth due to the fact that the articles and the photo was taken in the same time period The photo is of four men and one woman having signs attached to their bodies and they march around a brick building The order of the picketers is quite interesting because it makes a valid approach It is a uniform march two Black men in front leading a march and one woman who follows her man and supports him 100 Two other Black men then follow her who shields and protect the woman who is in the middle and the line probably just continues as uniformly as it is This way the woman is able to voice her opinion too without being afraid of being attacked because she is between her very own strong Black men However one cannot help but notice that there is a significant amount of space between the woman and the man This is enough space to fit another person to join the picket line There is a Black police officer in the back of this space Calhoun 6 whose body fits perfectly in the space This is symbolic for this Black police office that probably wants to join the picket line but cannot because his job is to make sure no brawls break out Notice how he is just fading in the background instead of all in the picketers faces like police officers usually are when people are picketing or protesting outside of a public facility The author of the two 1949 articles in the New York Times and Hughes and DeCarava photo in The Sweet Flypaper of Life page 79 informs the reader about the way that Harlem and Brooklyn was in the years of 1949 1954 It shows and tells the discrimination in which Black people endured to live nowhere near equally to Whites It shows how although White men were the executives of the companies in which the Black people worked or tried to work they wanted no part in helping the Negros in gaining their privileges and rights These white executives said the city had no jurisdiction in the matter Picket City Hall 55 Hughes captions above DeCarava s photo reads Picket lines picketing and being that there is no White official out here talking to them just goes to show that they paid the Black picketers no mind It is almost as if they are not even there The photos in Hughes and DeCarava s work speaks and shows how the Black people walked a lot so because a picket line involved walking they were experts at it On the same page of the picketers photo there are two other photos that have pictures of Black people walking and these captions read Somebody always passing Coming and going However the whites never came and went by the Black s picket lines in the photo The Black peoples voices did not exist to the White executive men Work Cited Calhoun 7 DeCarava Roy and Hughes Langston The Sweet Flypaper of Life New York Hill and Wang 1955 Picket City Hall New York Times 22 June 1949 55 38 Dockers Stage Sit Down At Union New York Times 07 June 1949 55

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