Knowledge is the Pathway Between Today and Tomorrow

Nothing has changed. For centuries, history repeats itself again and again. Though there are different characters, scenarios, and environments, the plot, the outcome, and the effects are still the same. In reading “Learning to Read and Growing in Knowledge”, “The Readers’ Strike”, and  “Frankie Mae,  I realized that these people all experienced the same story, but with different circumstances and environments. At on point in all of our lives, events  happens that can alters how we approach different situations. For example, growing up with parents verbally or physically abusing a child, that child can grow up to resent anyone who tries to harm them. It changes their perspective on love, relationship, and friendship causing them to receive communication in pessimistic way. In different cases, those children can grow up to be better than their parents were and develop a tenderhearted character. And yet again in other cases, children can grow up to be anti-social and avoid anymore hurt. In each of these articles, we see each character reflect at least one of these oppressed children.

Fredrick Douglas is a rare find. Born into slavery, and living most of his life as a slave, Douglas chose the path of stepping out over his contenders and oppressors and proving himself as an educated human being. His turning point began when his Master, Hugh Auld, “proceeded to unfold to his wife the true philosophy of the slave system, and the peculiar rules necessary in the nature of the case to be observed in the management of human chattels”. “If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell” continues, Mr. Hugh Auld. These words, “stirred up within [Douglas] a rebellion not soon to be allayed”. I believe from this point forward, Douglas used this encounter as fuel for his life long campaign of advocating for slaves. He would forever be proof that “knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom”.

José Yglesias, a cigar maker of Ybor City, the barrio of the city of Tampa, was one who decided to live with what they were used to. José and the rest of the cigar makers decided to go on strike for 3 months because they believed they we’re being oppressed by their superiors. This was more than just owners feeling as if

it was not right that these men…

should seem so to enjoy the ideas in the words of

Zola, Dickens, Cervantes, Tolstoy…so that

this very delicate labor of rolling fine cigars

might seem less tedious there in the hot sun

in the middle of a depression…

This was an attempt to censor these very absorbent minds. Minds that could come together and think together, and revolt together, and actually make change. The 3 month strike wasn’t to get paid more or to fix working conditions. It was to prove that the work has been done. The words they heard has already helped shape their minds and helped them think for themselves. However in the end, they went back to work without anyone reading to them. Their knowledge was caped out.

Frankie Mae is like those who completely shut themselves out from society after oppression. She found an outlet which was education and thinking. But one statement would forever change her drive for learning and her drive for living. “Long as you live, bitch, I’, gonna be right and you gonna be wrong. Now get your black ass outta here.” Mr. White Junior had succeeded in his version of censorship. He completely controlled her life by planting in her head nothing will change. I can just picture Frankie Mae, replaying those words day after day. Living according to what her boss had said. Her turning point turned her backwards.

The Cost of Education has created a huge gap between the wealthy class and the middle/lower class. With the increasing costs of tuition in public universities, the middle class is struggling to put their children through higher education.

This hits the middle and working classes particularly hard. Struggling families often face rough patches during which they don’t have enough cash on hand to make such payments, and so have to go to their credit cards — and pay the fees. Meanwhile, wealthy families that can afford to simply write a check upfront each month avoid both credit card fees and interest payments.

To be fair, monthly payment plans intend to help lower-income families afford college. But they have also had the unintentional consequence of creating bonuses for the wealthy and added impediments to the less well-off.

The New York Times

Who gets to go to college? The wealthy? So they can continue to produce wealthy, educated offspring? The New York Times says it the best:

Our institutions of higher learning cannot continue to offer their best deals to a privileged few. Our country needs colleges and universities to recruit and cultivate talented young people from diverse backgrounds. To do so, we must ensure that children from working families have the mechanisms not only to obtain college admission and afford to attend without compromising their studies, but also to be free to enter the economy relatively unburdened by debt.

The New York Times

The wealthy politicians and decision makers are wedging a form of censorship in front of the middle/lower class. Education is slowly becoming something that is difficult to get a hold of. Don’t we have the right to learn? Why should my future career be in jeopardy because I don’t have the funds to properly gain the knowledge necessary for that field. I am a young American. I am the future of America. One day I will decide what is necessary for the next generation. I need to be properly trained in order to make those decisions. If not, this country will rot as it is already doing. I must change was Douglas said to this, Knowledge is the pathway between today and tomorrow.

1 comment
  1. This is really excellent! More than I expected. You’ve gone very deep in your analysis of these stories, quoting you: “It [various forms of abuse] changes their perspective on love, relationship, and friendship causing them to receive communication in pessimistic way.” I would guess you are a psychology major? If not, you might consider it.

    And this quote really shows how well the story of Frankie Mae reached you, “I can just picture Frankie Mae, replaying those words day after day. Living according to what her boss had said. Her turning point turned her backwards.”

    Very effective and appropriate use of quotes throughout.

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