Anna Cooper, "Womanhood a Vital Elementin the Regeneration and Progress of a Race"
- What is Anna Cooper's audience, and is her argument designed to appeal to its members? What do you think would have been the gender composition of her audience?
- With which of her arguments do you think her audience would likely have agreed? What are some bold or controversial elements of her appeal?
- How does she use a common adherence to cultural and Biblical traditions to buttress her appeals on behalf of African-American women?
- What are her views of other cultures? How do you think these were derived? How is the appeal to American superiority used in support of her aims?
- What are her views on medieval history, and on chivalry? How are these used to support the equality of women?
- What seem to be her fears about the fate of southern black women?
- How do you interpret her views on other Protestant denominations? To what does she ascribe the Protestant Episcopal Church's reluctance to evangelize among African-Americans? Its failure to provide schools for African-American women?
- On what grounds does she make her final appeal to the audience?
- What are some features of her style and mode of argument? Do you think this would have been an effective speech?
Ida B. Wells, A Red Record
- How does Ida Wells make her argument against lynching? What evidence does she give of a pervasive practice?
- How does she interpret the stages in the rationalizations given for murder? Are these convincing?
- What are some features of her style? Is it effective?
- Which elements of this treatise would have seemed especially bold?
- What means does she propose for helping to bring about reform?
- What was meant by "rape," according to Wells's explanation?
- Do some of the problems she identifies still have some counterparts today?