Completely excluded from the fine ideals of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, African Americans spent the next two centuries searching for political, intellectual and cultural empowerment in American society. Prior to the 1920´s African Americans were depicted as the goodhearted and obedient ¨negro¨ (Uncle Tom´s cabin) or the uneducated farmer. With the Harlem Renaissance a new image of sophisticated and intellectual Afro Americans began to emerge. The harlem Renaissance was more than an artistic movement ; it helped lay the foundation for the post-World War II phase of the Civil Rights movement.
London. (….) Implacable November weather, (…) Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes – gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun (…) Foot passengers, jostling one another´s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper, and loosing their foot.hold at streets corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke) …
Charles Dickens, Bleak House, Chapter 2, 1852
It was a foggy day in London, and the fog was heavy and dark. Animate London, with smarting eyes and irritated lungs, was blinking, whezzing, and choking; inanimate London was a sooty spectre, divided in purpose between being visible and invisible, and so being wholly neither (..) Even in the surrounding country it was a foggy day, but there the fog was grey, whereas in London it was, at about the boundary line, dark yellow, and a little within brown, and then browner, and then browner, until at the heart of the city – which call Saint Mary Axe – it was rusy-black.
Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friends, 1865.
Charles Dickens (1812-1870), is considered to be one of the greatest writers of the 19th century: He lived in London. The rapidly growing industrial environment of the time served as a bachground to most of his novels : Little Dorrit, David Copperfield, The Adevntures of Oliver Twist. He is famous for his realistic depiction of the poverty and pollution that were generated by the industrial revolution.
The growth of global cities have brought a wealth of culture, linguistic and ethnic diversity, helping to enrich everyday life and open new possibilities of exchange. However, the needs of such dense population have led to serious problems in terms of environment. From the slums and fog of Victorian London to the Great Smog of 1952 and the current issue of traffic pollution, global cities struggle to find solutions to reduce their carbon footprint and improve urban living conditions.
Will global cities find a way to create sustainable environment in the future?
Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, It affects us, it raises our awareness on contemporary issues. Through literature, music, art, photography, films and sports, African Americans have taken control of their own identity and imposed universal recognition. African-American culture, also known as Black-American culture, in the United States refers to the cultural contributions of African Americans to the culture of the United States, either as part of or distinct from American culture. The distinct identity of African-American culture is rooted in their historical experience.
In the 1920s and 1930s, African-American music, literature, and art gained wide notice. Jazz, swing, blues and other musical forms entered American popular music. African-American artists created unique works of art featuring African Americans. This first major public recognition of African-American culture occurred during the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was a phase of a larger New Negro movement that had emerged in the early 20th century and in some ways ushered in the civil rights movement of the late 1940s and early 1950s. The social foundations of this movement included the Great Migration of African Americans from rural to urban spaces and from South to North.
has Art contributed to the African American identity?
how have African Americans used Art as a counter power to achieve recognition ?
American Gothic, a portrait of government cleaning woman Ella Watson by Gordon Parks
Parks said of the image:
I had experienced a kind of bigotry and discrimination here that I never expected to experience. … At first, I asked her about her life, what it was like, and so disastrous that I felt that I must photograph this woman in a way that would make me feel or make the public feel about what Washington, D.C. was in 1942. So I put her before the American flag with a broom in one hand and a mop in another. And I said, « American Gothic »–that’s how I felt at the moment. I didn’t care about what anybody else felt. That’s what I felt about America and Ella Watson’s position inside America.
In this photograph, Parks uses his camera as a weapon against poverty, again racism, against all sorts of social discrimation. The photographer may have wanted to show that this woman, many African Americans are imprisoned in a socio.economic role that they can´t escape.The US flag in the background represents the hope for justice and equality, thus emphasizing the gap between the ideals and reality. (The American dream : myth or reality?)
William H. Johnson , Chain Gang 1939
Back in 1939, Chain Gangs were a reality and the artist wants to make people aware of the terrible and humiliating suffering involved in this form of punishment. In addition, the fact that all the prisoners are black would suggest that his intention was also to raise people´s awareness on the plight og African Americans, bubjected to exclusion, humiliation and stigmatisation.
MORE RECENT BLACK ARTISTS WHO HAVE HAD A GREAT INFLUENCE ON BLACK CULTURE
The Civil Rights Movement and Television – E-Notes Website –
During the 1950s the struggle for civil rights came to a head at the same time television began to appear in most Americans’ homes. At the beginning of the decade, television was a novelty owned by very few people. By 1960 ninety percent of American homes had television. Television became a catalyst for change on a massive scale. People in the northern states could see what was happening in Selma, Birmingham, and Memphis and vice versa. In addition, television helped Southern blacks unify, for while local Southern media rarely covered news involving racial issues, they now had access to national newscasts that were witnessing and documenting this revolution.
THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND TELEVISION – CBS Reports: Who Speaks for Birmingham
Who Speaks for Birmingham, broadcast during the tumultuous rise in visibility of the civil rights movement in the media, reported on the racial divide between the white and black communities of Birmingham, Alabama. Residents testify to their conflicted feelings about how racial integration will affect their lives, with very differing portraits offered from both the white and black community. Although Howard K. Smith reports for this program, an uncredited Edward R. Murrow developed the topic and got it approved by CBS management. (1961; 55 minutes)
Mrs. George Bridges, a cultural leader in the highly segregated South, discusses her feelings about the role prejudice plays in the lives of the white Birmingham elite.
Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, civil rights activist, describes the 1957 attempt on his life by a mob of Klansmen, which occurred when he and his wife attempted to enroll their children in a previously all-white public school in Birmingham.
How did the media influence the civil rights movement?
Television gave a lot of coverage to the Civil Rights Movement. For example, the media covered events ranging from the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. When 15 year Emmitt Till was murdered there was also a lot of media coverage. All of these events were occurring while the number of American families that had television sets jumped from 56% to 92%. Television gave Americans a visual of what was occurring in our country.
Here are some other events that television covered:
1955-shots of numerous boycotted buses driving down deserted Alabama streets; 1957-angry white mobs of segregationists squaring-off against black students escorted by a phalanx of Federal Troops in front of Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi; 1965-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., leads a mass of black protesters across a bridge in Selma, Alabama; 1963 attack on young civil rights protesters by the Birmingham, Alabama, police and their dogs, and the fire department’s decision to turn on fire hydrants to disperse the young black demonstrators, most of whom were children.
The media influenced the civil rights movement in key ways, and it is important to understand that the leaders of the movement understood this fact very clearly. First, the media tended to anoint leaders of the movement, particularly Martin Luther King. This had the effect of portraying King’s vision of the movement, which was non-violent and essentially political (the media for a time tended to efface his statements about economic equality) as if it represented a consensus.
The other influence the media had on the movement was to televise its key events to a nationwide, and even worldwide audience. The entire nation was shocked by the shocking scenes from places like Birmingham and Selma. Not only did this lead to popular support for civil rights legislation everywhere but the South, but in a Cold War context, it created a major propaganda opportunity for the Soviet Union to portray US rhetoric about freedom as hollow and meaningless.
The media played a vital role in being able to galvanize more Americans into witnessing for themselves the atrocious violations of individual rights that were taking place in the South. The media showing the horrendous conditions, or the pain that protesters had to endure from others helped to bring more people into the movement. This galvanizing of emotion into action was facilitated by the media. Individuals in the North who might not have been moved to action were done so through the media. When Dr. King gives his « I have a dream » speech, the broadcasts of this moment helps to give voice to the movement. It was the media that would have preempted its own programming to show the atrocities happening in America. For example, interrupting its own broadcast of « Judgment at Nuremberg, » ABC News showed protesters being beaten in the South.
Without the media, the civil rights movement would not have been possible in my opinion. The whole strategy of the movement was based on getting media coverage.
The movement was really trying to persuade whites outside the South to support the cause of civil rights. These whites would not have been able to hear much about the movement without the media.
In addition, they would have been less likely to support blacks even if they had heard about it. The media coverage made support more likely because it showed things like protestors getting attacked by police dogs. This made the Southern whites look bad and got a lot of support for the movement.
On protest movements
There are many types of demonstrations, including a variety of elements. These may include:
Marches, in which a paradedemonstrate while moving along a set route.
Rallies, in which people gather to listen to speakers or musicians.
Picketing, in which people surround an area (normally an employer).
Sit-ins, in which demonstrators occupy an area, sometimes for a stated period but sometimes indefinitely, until they feel their issue has been addressed, or they are otherwise convinced or forced to leave.
Nudity, in which they protest naked – here the antagonist may give in before the demonstration happens to avoid embarrassment.
The protest movements, inspired by the so-called Arab Spring and the initial protests in Spain earlier in 2011, have spread globally. Many have been nicknamed as “Occupy” movements such as Occupy Wall Street, in reference to how Egyptians occupied the famous Tahrir Square during their uprising.
How have the media contributed to empower people ?
Would the Civil Rights movement have been possible without the media?
(see my previous post ¨Power and Counter Power¨ to find more documents to illustrate the role of the media in shaping public opinion ie: Greenpeace, Wikileaks, We are the 99 percent)
Power is the ability to exercise authority and influence over others. It can be exerted in different areas such as Economy, Politics, media etc..
In relation to the notion, the topic/theme we are going to deal with/discuss will be the 4th power. The 4th power is usually defined as the power of the press and public opinion-
Problematiques/key questions we may wonder if/to….
To what extent can the press be considered as a form of power? why and to what extent?
What should the limits to convey information be?
Should classified elements remain secret? Should Wikileaks be limited?
Should limits be imposed on counter powers?
Do we have the power as citizen to shape public life?
Are empowered citizens truly powerful?
Are counter powers really effective?
Have counter powers acquired more power/influence?
Is the influence of Internet a good influence?
To what extent are counter powers growing in influence?
Can active citizens change the world?
How have social media helped empower people?
Is the power of the people greater than the people in power?
The press and public opinion are commonly nicknamed the fourth power. By extension the 4th power refers to the various means of communication which can be used as counter powers to limit the 3 other powers (which are the legislative executive and judicial powers). For many years new powers have emerged and have had a great influence on public opinion. Internet is refered to as the fifth power.
Documents to illustrate your topic :
The power of the press : The Panama papers :
One of the biggest leaks in journalistic history reveals the secretive offshore companies used to hide wealth, evade taxes and commit fraud by the world’s dictators, business tycoons and criminals.Panama Papers are documents obtained from a Panama-based offshore services provider called Mossack Fonseca. The documents were received by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
WikiLeaks is an international online not-for-profit media organization founded by Australian activist Julian Assange that has published and made available to the public a huge number of classified, uncensored and highly sensitive documents from various anonymous news sources. Its website, which opened in 2006, collected a database of more than 1.2 million documents in the first year alone. This initiative to reveal and make public state secrets and confidential information received intense media coverage but also prompt state retaliation. Julian Assange is hiding….Some consider him a hero, others a villain.
The scene is set in the street before the New York Stock Exchange. In the foreground, a policeman is arresting a demonstrator who is wearing a sweater with Öccupy Wall Street¨written on it and a badge which reads ¨99%¨. The policeman is trampling over a placard with the word ¨GREED¨ barred on it . We can therefore infer that the demonstrators are protesting against greed. In addition, there are masked robbers/thieves in the background standing in front of the Stock Exchange. Each of the men is carrying a bag full of money and yet they are not being arrested. They are watching the scene and seem quite relaxed about the police presence. The cartoonist´s message is clear. The demonstrator is being arrested simply for occupying Wall Street, meanwhile the thieves, obviously representing the world of finance go unpunished.
The power of NGOs:
The NGO Greenpeace has monitered the anti-environmental practices of big business and industry for over 40 years. Every time they find evidence of wrong-doing, they try to alert public opinion any way they can.
Comments: Here we have a perfect illustration of powers and counter powers – It also reminds us of the fight of David against Goliath with the small inflatable of Greenpeace challenging the monster ship which represents big business- Obviously the dinghy can´t stop the boat but maybe the photo can. The power of money and big businesses is being confronted by the Citizen power of an NGO and the media.
HOW TO CONCLUDE
In the conclusion, dedicate a sentence or two by summarizing what you have been discussing. It´s a good idea to link your key question to another notion by opening up with a suggestion or a question.
Myths and heroes:
Does being an activist make you a hero?
Can Julian Assange be considered a hero?
Idea of progress
Power is a force connecting people,communities and nations in a constant progress of contestations and change. The growing influence of street movements, of the free press, of the internet, is also a sign of more democracy.
Spaces and exchanges
Exchanging information in a digital age has empowered citizens.
Power – powerful- powerless- to empower- empowerment-
To exercise/to possess/ to seize/ to enforce/ to grant/ to wield/ to lack…. power
To release information /to shed light on/ to discredit/
Public opinion/reliable sources/misconduct/censorship/classified/
3 documents to better understand the context of multiculturalism in Canada.(and the picture)
FACTS ABOUT CANADA
Canada is the second largest country in the world,. Canada´s national motoo ¨from sea to sea¨derives from its geographical position, from the Atlantic Ocean to the pacific Ocean.
Most people live along the southern border in cities like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa.
English is the most spoken language, by nearly 60% of the population, then the French, spoken by some 20%, and the remaining 20% speak aboriginal languages
A bilingual country: The presence of two languages in Canada is explained by the history of colonization. The French were the first to colonize the area around Quebec, while the british settled in the northern and western regions. The Federal governement made French an official language of Canada along with English as a way to fight against separatist ideas in the second part of the 20th century.
English and French vs native languages: The Canadian government wanted the Aboriginal children to become English-speakers, but also to convert them into christianity. This is an example of a policy of ¨forced assimilation¨. The children were forced to leave their families for many years and were forbidden to speak their native language. These documents raise several issues and cover several notions:
Seats and forms of power/Spaces and Exchanges: English and French versus native languages:
To what extend is a language a form of control ?
Can identity exist without a language?
Should a dying language be protected?
To what extend can Canada be considered a multicultural country?
Topic 2 – Borders – Open Spaces/new spaces
Borders delimit nations, but who decides on them? the question of the ownership of land is a complex issue. Does the land belong to anyone? If so, who does the land belong to? And by which right? These are the questions that Canadians are faced with.
When it comes to land and land rights, the Inuits have a different point of view from other nations. For them, there is no such thing as borders. Land is not something that belongs to an individual, land but must be shared, protected and unspoiled and their way of life preserved. They want the right to profit from the Artic´s ressources but the superpowers do not share the same views…
Global warming has opened up the Northwest Passage in the Artic Sea.This passage did not use to be navigable in winter but because of global warming and the melting of polar ice, it could soon be navigable all year long, which would make the Artic region easily accessible for the exploitation of its natural ressources. All five bordering nations (Canada, Danemark, Norway, Russia, the USA) have had plans to explore the region for years (rich in gas and oil ressources). But the land belong to the Inuits. This race for the exploration of the Artic´s natural ressources would be desastrous for the Inuits, but also for wildlife
Responsible Artic eco tourism Polar tourism was slow to start, but is now a popular and rapidly-growing industry that is expanding in terms of tourists, tour operators, diverse recreational pursuits, geographic scope, and seasons of use. Arctic economies have seen it evolve from an incidental activity to a vital sector upon which they increasingly rely. This has been particularly true for newly enfranchised indigenous people of the Arctic seeking self-sufficiency, and for gateway cities in the southern hemisphere eager to realize the economic benefits of Antarctic tourism.
Seats and forms of power/ Spaces and Exchanges : Land and borders:
To what extent are the 5 power nations entitled to the ressources of the Artic Circle?
How has the land shaped its people?
.Are borders a good thing?
Is a border a final frontier?
Anglais au bac – Enjoy what you learn, learn to enjoy what you do