Struggling for Justice

Essay by aznsoljuh August 2004

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Struggling for Justice

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman helped to explain the struggle for equality from the 1860's to the 1960's. Three events in the book that really illustrated the brutality of slavery are the attack of Patrollers, the assassination of Ned, and the suicide of TeeBob. Jane was born into slavery, but her boldness and determination were bound to free her.

From the beginning, Ticey (Jane's slave name) works and lives on a plantation in Louisiana. As soon as the owner announces that the slaves are now free according to the proclamation papers, Jane and the other workers head on a journey to the north. They are led by a woman by the name of Big Laura, who is as physically strong if not stronger than most men. After settling in at night, the freed slaves awake to the rampage of Patrollers. Patrollers are white men who catch runaway slaves.

Unprepared and unarmed, the ex-slaves are slaughtered mercilessly, all except for Jane and Ned (Big Laura's son). Though they both survived the tragic massacre, they were left alone without guidance or an elder, in a country that was not yet united.

Ned, now well educated, returns to the plantation where Jane lives. He sets up a school to teach the children the beliefs of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglas. Immediately the white folks become suspicious and distraught. They order Albert Cluveau to assassinate Ned. Things get complicated, because Jane's relation to Albert is one of a friend. They spend time together fishing and talking. Surprisingly though, Albert kills Ned with a shotgun. He shoots him in the knee to make him crawl, by the demands of the white folks, and then in his chest. Before Ned died, he gave a speech by the river. He spoke about...