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Colored or dark

Erin's picture

The whole time I was reading Colored Amazons, I am constantly picturing the movies of the stories written in the book in my head since Philadelphia is just too familiar. I think after reading this book, I will look at the city in the same. Every time I walk on the street, I will think of the injustice and inequality drenched in the street.

Philadelphia is an interesting city. It’s definitely not the best one but it reminds me a lot of my hometown, a city with too many stories, both glorious and sad ones.  Back to Colored Amazons, Philadelphia was one of the few big cities that allow free blacks before the abolition of the slavery at that time. However, after two hundred years, it remains to be one of the city has racial problems.  After reading very informational introduction, Gross tries to connect many missing pieces or the overlooked pieces about African Americans in the judicial system, especially women.

Chapter 1-3 starts with the famous trial of Alice Clifton in 1787. She was sentenced under an unjustified trial after her baby was found dead after delivery. During the period of slavery, the truth of death of this half-blooded baby was never truly revealed. Because the chief justice took the liberty to offer his own opinion and biased jurors, Alice was convinced to be guilty. Black women’s’ right were barely protected by the judicial system. Even after the Emancipation of Proclamation and Civil War, the inequality in the judicial system towards black women was a shared secret. Due to the lack of lawful and official protection, black women were really vulnerable. They experienced all kinds of unequal treatment in labor market and frequent sexual harassment due to the disadvantaged financial and social status. The financial status was a key factor in solving the problem and really changed the living conditions of freed Blacks. On the other hand, in reality, the inequality in workforce and public occasions were rather common. The segregations in all levels were strong weapons that make most of the Blacks living at the lower class in the society. Not only the financial rights were restricted, the political rights were limited. In a word, blacks are freed low-income workers. The population of Black women was even more refined in the society at that time. In order to make a living, many of them decided to do the illegal things. Stealing and robbing were often because the punishment would be couple of years in jail. Prostitution and illegal sexual business resulted in more social racial and public health problems.  The jail in Philadelphia was filled with Black women at the time. Some of them didn’t have a choice some of them were victims of judicial system.

Even though many details of Black women criminal during era were still missing, we can still conclude the problem about high proportion of black women criminals is deeply-rooted, complicated and waiting to be improved.