Dear John Lewis, 

The last few pages begin with the shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson and the assassination of Malcom X. As this book progressed, it became very apparent how the retaliation for their movement was creating a lot of grief and tension within the community of protesters.Tensions began increasing within the movement itself as people began questioning the purpose of their approaches to protesting, causing a rift between you and the rest of the SNCC. Following your decision to no longer represent the SNCC, the marches in Selma began, signifying the beginning of the end. Although you were beaten close to death, you kept moving. Eventually, all of your work, and the work of those pushing for equality, led not only to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but also to many more progressive strides that are still seen today. 

As I read through this final stretch, I became extremely frustrated with the lack of sympathy or remorse that so many expressed towards those in the movement. It was heartbreaking to see so many lives cut short or damaged in the wake of trying to achieve something that should be a given in this country. I greatly respect your perseverance throughout this journey, despite the constant beatings and arrests. It was very satisfying to see the Voting Rights Act be put into place after reading about the strife that developed in search of it. 

I would like to know your deeper thoughts on leaving the SNCC and how that impacted your outlook on the movement as a whole. Leaving an organization that you spent so much time working with must have been a difficult decision to make. 

Related imageFor me, personally, I see a solution lying in the bystanders. Instead of watching the abuse and unfair treatment of those fighting for their rights, start taking action to protect them or help fight with them. In the book, the white people who stood beside black protesters were called similar derogatory names as them, but they didn’t back down. I think it’s an important responsibility of ours to take more action when witnessing an injustice, and this could lead to further progress than we’ve seen. 

Thank you, 

Sydney Pence


Consideration in the Courtyard

Image result for invading personal space from A man is invading a woman's personal space and touching her shoulder while they are at work. The man is smiling while the woman looks uncomfortable.
An image of a man invading the personal space of a woman.

I am a first year biology student at GSU, typically spending a majority of my time with a diverse group of people who are around my age. Additionally, as someone personally dealing with PTSD, I have had my own experiences dealing with people who do not seem to care how their actions affect others. For example, there have been a few instances where I have had people intentionally try to touch me just to get a reaction or purposely make loud noises to watch me jump. This overall lack of consideration has been seen mostly with people my own age who seem to feel entitled to behave in any way they want to, without thinking about the consequences. I personally chose to analyze the courtyard outside of Langdale Hall because it is a place where many other students my age spend their free time between classes due to it being a fair place to do homework or talk with friends.

The Langdale courtyard is a very open, active space. It is mainly made up of short brick walls lining the large, open area with cement flooring and surfaces for sitting. Behind the walls lining the edges of the area are small plants and shrubbery that bring a little more life to the structured setting. There are typically a large amount of people in the courtyard, as many other students tend to wait for their classes to start or pass through from Langdale Hall to the numerous staircases around the area. For the most part, the majority of people take preference to sitting alone or in groups of two while typing on their laptops. These people are most likely students, and tend to stick closer to the corners. The people sitting in the corners of the courtyard are usually the ones to remain for longer while others who are standing typically talk for several minutes and then separate. Because these students prefer to sit by themselves and stick to completing course work in their available time, most of them remain quiet. However, there are some groups of people who are slightly louder than the rest. Also, the ones rotating through the courtyard from the multiple entrances are more than likely alone and tend to remain quiet. 

a wide shot of people walking through or sitting down in the courtyard
My perspective of the quad during my field observations.

A large majority of people in the courtyard are students, and some appear to be completing homework, so it would make sense for them to be quieter and keep more to themselves. However, most of the others who are socializing in smaller or larger groups still tend to separate themselves from those who may be nearby. While most of the individual clusters of students in the courtyard choose to keep to themselves, away from everyone else, one particular group was more lively and animated. This particular group of people, most likely students judging from their bookbags, were dressed in clothes that displayed well-known name brands. However, there was one individual within this group that seemed to be the most bold and outspoken. 

There are several events that center around this student. One involves performing a dance in the middle of the courtyard, which was more of a series of stomps and flailing arms that often accidentally hit people walking by. This earned him a few glares or wide eyes. The same person proceeds to throw keys at people, then mutters an apology, only to do it another time in a different direction. At one point, the group even began a spitting contest into the bushes behind them, including lots of hacking and cheers. The people around them occasionally glance up, narrowing their eyes, and some stand up to leave altogether. 

This is an overall isolated incident in the courtyard, although there are a couple groups that display similar characteristics to a lesser degree, such as talking louder than most or bumping into other people. Those are the groups who, more often than not, choose to walk in a line across the path in a way that did not allow others to pass. When they try, they are usually jostled around without a single apology. There are also several individuals who, after missing the trashcan when throwing away their garbage, continue to walk past without even attempting to place it into the bin correctly.

The actions displayed by these people, and this group specifically, demonstrate having a sense of entitlement and overall lack of consideration for those around them. Those people surrounding them eventually became too annoyed to even want to stay in the area they had chosen for peace. While the actions displayed here may seem harmless overall, the entitled mentality that certain individuals appeared to possess, when continued, escalated and affected those around them much worse as time went on. 

A Bed Just Right

The constant ticking of the clock on the wall only served to set me further on edge instead of lulling me to sleep, as I’m sure was one of the reasons behind its purchase. There were too many factors in that room working to keep my eyes from drifting closed, from the scratchy fabric rubbing against my toes to the fleeting shadows crossing my vision in the dark room. I heard footsteps padding up the stairs to my bedroom. Yellow light beamed in from the newly-formed crack in the doorway as I heard a soft voice calling out to me.

an image of the book cover
This is the book my cousin read to me to help me get to sleep when i was really young.

If the word “angelic” were personified, I think Elizabeth would have come pretty close to it. Her halo of blonde hair framed her face in wispy waves, and I felt the cotton sleeve of her blouse brush my knee where she attempted to arrange my covers around me. My cousin took great care to build my little cocoon of blankets and positioned herself on the edge of my bed with a book in hand. I listened to her recite the words from the book about a blonde little girl who couldn’t seem to find a bed her size or a bowl of porridge the right temperature. I listened to her soothing tone, not quite processing the story but still demanding her to reread it to me all the same. I could feel the warm tingles on the back of my head that told me sleep was approaching and before I realized it, my eyelids began to droop. 


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