Essay 3 Working Draft 3 - Wang 1 Shirby Wang Dr. Short...

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Wang1Shirby WangDr. ShortHuman Core30 January 2015Essay 3: Finding Racial Equality in Post War SocietyOn April 22, 1865,Harper’s Weekly, a popular political magazine of the time, publishedan anonymous cartoon titled “A Man Knows a Man”, depicting a black and a white amputeefrom the Civil War shaking their hands, directly following the end of the Civil War on April 9,1865. Its composition is relatively simple, reflecting its clear and idealized message that thestruggles and sacrifices both black and white soldiers shared in the war should resolve racialtension. Its caption calls for the newly integrated society to work together and realize they bothmade many sacrifices and persevered to achieve victory. This anonymous cartoon printed inHarper’s Weeklyembodies an idealistic view on the resolution of the Civil War and thesymmetry between black and white Union soldiers in order to provide reassurance to theaftermath of the metaphorical war on slavery, despite the fact that the social rupture betweenblacks and whites would prevent a widespread acceptance between the two races.The cartoon uses the fact that black men were allowed to fight in the war as the basis forthe argument for equality between the two races. Both freedmen and contrabands, Southernslaves who escaped across the border into the Union army, who enlisted played an integral roleon the Union side of the Civil War. However, it was not until 1862, one year into the war thatblack men were allowed to enlist at all. Frederick Douglass, a freed slave living in the North atthe time, had expressed his incredulous disgust at the fact that black men were not allowed tofight in a war that directly involved their freedom and livelihood, stating in one of his passages in
Wang2Douglass’ Monthly, that the government “degrades and insults the whole class by refusing toallow any of their number to defend with their strong arms and brave hearts the national cause”(Douglass). At the time, an image of a black man holding weapons was a radical notion andthreatened the supremacy white slaveholders felt over them. However, the cartoon shows that theblack soldiers have proven themselves to be worthy of “the good cause” of supporting the Union,just like any other white soldier.The crux of the image lies in the fact that both have sacrificed their bodies to the war topreserve the Union; the artist expresses his belief that this mutual courage puts the two soldierson the same level. He places firm belief that this display of sacrifice and togetherness haspotential to overcome racism. There would be many soldiers from the war who would be able toidentify with the amputees depicted. Loss of a limb can be construed in many ways, but,according to Valerie De Brava in her article, “The Offending Hand of War in Harper's Weekly”,

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Term
Winter
Professor
Lupton

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