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Hailey Lowell
American Studied
12/17/12

Women Throughout American History

Throughout history women have created a diverse culture for our nation. Before women took a stance for themselves, history had not evolved, women were greatly disregarded and neglected. Women today have done so much for society and our nation that it is odd to think all of their contributions to American history at one point did not matter. The supremacy of the white male had taken over for a while, but there are different cultures as well as a different gender that has helped and document todays history. Okihiro is a woman that has shown that looking through history from a different point of view can change the outlook that women have set history apart for themselves, and are centered around history. Women have pursued the rational and conceptual roles that are not seen on the outside which give society nowadays a chance to make a name for themselves and to learn about the endowment women have created for the American history. My personal essay will focus on three different aspects; the films, "Murder of Emmett Till," "When You're Smiling", "Ballad of an Unsung Hero" as well as Susan Douglas' book, "Where the Girls Are." I will use each of these coarse documents to contemplate and reflect the statement that women should be used as the central point of American history.

The beginning of the Civil Rights Movement was induced by the film, The American Experience: The Murder of Emmett Till, directed by Stanley Nelson is a tragic and awful story that is told about a fourteen year-old boy who had been raised in Chicago but was traveling to the state of Mississippi to visit his family. Living in Chicago, Till was refrained and was very unaware of the segregation in the south, let alone a state like Mississippi. Once Till had arrived in Mississippi, one day he thought it would be clever to overpower his friends while flirting with an older white lady in the grocery store; mind you Till not knowing any of the boundaries that the south had upon people not of the superior race. Days later in the middle of the night, Till was dragged out of his bed and was beat to death by the while lady from the grocery store's husband. Till's body was later found only a few days later with bullets inside his crushed skull and his eyes hollowed out in the Tallahatchie river. Everyone shocked and appalled of the news and how awful this man was to do that to such a young and innocent boy as everyone should be once it had hit the newspapers only a few days later. Emmett Till's mother, Mamie Bradley encouraged our nation to stand up for themselves and what they believe is right by protesting that her child's funeral be an open-casket so that, "All the world could see what they did to my son." Emmett Till's mother becomes a national icon with the historical value that women can make a stand with the importance of humanity and all that is right in the world. History in the aspect of Okihiros "centered of women" show within this film.

When You're Smiling; The Deadly Legacy of Interment is a film directed by Janice Tanaka who shows a few women activist that were key components in stopping the Japanese-American violence during World War 2. The struggles and hardships these Japanese-Americans had to go through when placed in the internment camps were unbearable. These camps had very detrimental standings on the Japanese-Americans that were involved. One of the activist brought up in the film, Evelyn Yoshimura states that due to this, the rate of suicide, drug use as well as depression increased at a severely high rate. There was nowhere for them to turn to while in these camps, they believed that everything was their fault when needless to say it most definitely was not. These individuals had to be reminded by others to say that it was not just them. If thought of, that is a very harsh thing to hear which is why depression, suicide and drug abuse was at a high risk...
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