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without sanctuuary

By ashleelauren109 Dec 05, 2013 648 Words
The photographs of lynching in American on the website “Without Sanctuary,” that were uncovered by James Allen, displays the gruesome acts of hatred towards blacks and other minorities, that occurred throughout the 20th century. When looking at the photographs, my heart instantly becomes heavy, and fills with heartache, pain, anger, and resentment, because of the images depicted before me. In one photograph, the unidentified corpse of a young African American male, hangs approximately eight feet high from a tree in front of a courthouse. In another picture, the body of another African American male is found lying in a rocking chair. His bludgeoned body is covered in blood and his face is painted with white and dark paint. In viewing these pictures, I cannot help but think what if these men were my father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, or loved one. I cannot help but be upset and hurt because of the pain these people had to endure. Attempting to put myself in that time period, I believe I would have found the conditions in the South extremely unbearable, and I possibly would have formed some type of extreme dislike for the racist people surrounding me, much like the southern blacks of that time did. The photographs and postcards displayed on “Without Sanctuary” help illuminate one of the reasons why blacks migrated from the south to the north or west. These images provided me with a visual representation of the horrifying sights that blacks witnessed on a daily basis. By looking at these images, I can begin to better understand why it is that they left. Not only could African Americans in the south not find jobs, provide for their families, or have the same privileges and freedoms as whites, but they also feared for their lives and the lives of their loved ones daily. Who would like to live in fear and endure long, tiring days along with sleepless nights? Who would want to see the dead body of their own kind hanging from a tree after they have been killed, humiliated, and disrespected? These things drove some southern blacks insane, but I ask, can you blame them? With these conditions, it is easy to see how this would cause anyone to leave. Do the various pictures displayed on the website degrade or demean the memories of the victims? In my opinion, they do not degrade or demean the memories of the victims, because I feel some of these victims would have wanted their pictures shown to prove how badly they were treated. I personally think these pictures are necessary because they show how bad blacks were treated, tortured, and dehumanized. They are necessary because they are proof of the horrific acts of hatred our ancestors had to endure for decades, and they represent how far we have come and what it took for us to be able to live safe, secure, and comfortable lives in today’s society. I believe the purpose of “Without Sanctuary” is to shine light on how badly blacks were treated after the end of slavery. For those that are ignorant about this topic, they may think that life was “fine” after slavery ended. But, after being educated on this subject, it has become clear to me that things only got worse, and this website is a representation of that. I do not think, however, that this website serves the same purpose as Isabel Wilkerson’s novel, The Warmth of Other Suns. Wilkerson’s book was meant to educate readers on the causes and effects of the Great Migration. On the contrary, “Without Sanctuary” was meant to show the various murders, one of the main causes, which occurred during that time. Nevertheless, both are great representations of the treatments of blacks during the 20th century and have opened my eyes to the truth of the causes, details, and effects of the Great Migration.

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