Church Review, A Northern Phase of a Southern Problem Analysis

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Church Review, A Northern Phase of a Southern Problem Analysis

The document under analysis is “Church Review, A Northern Phase of a Southern Problem”, written in March 1910 by Sarah Willie Layten, a famous fighter for the rights of colored people, particularly women. The subject of the document is the protection of colored people, especially women, who were supposed to be miserable slaves. This document falls into the category of church documents, namely church review. The author of the document, Willie Layten, was an American woman born 1863 in Mississippi. She was raised in the family of a minister who advocated racial self-determination. Thus, since the early childhood, the girl knew about the problems of black people as well as racial and gender concerns of baptized black women. When she grew older, she could direct her activity at the solution of black Americans’ social and racial problems. Therefore, she became the president of the Western Baptist Association of California and the founder of the California Federation of Colored Women’s Club.

Layten’s chief motive in the writing of her article was to introduce the troubles and hardships that black people faced every day. She wanted to show society that there were colored people who came to America in search of a better life and they had to be supported by all means. Layten’s observation and familiarity with the problem of colored people’s struggle enhanced her view and made her write about the issues that blacks encountered every day. The degree of her familiarity with the subject of black people’s fight for their right was high as the woman had been raised in the family that protected the rights of colored people. Then, she began her activity for demonstrating and advocating their rights, having become the founder and the only woman secretary of the National Urban League that aimed at the protection of colored Baptist women. Thus, the author was a direct observer of the issue of Negroes’ struggle and colored Baptist women protection.

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The document was published in 1910 when the USA experienced immigration issues as well as people’s movements within the country. Many people had moved to the North in search of a better quality of life and higher income. However, those uneducated and untrained colored women faced many troubles looking for job as they were humiliated by the white part of the population. Quite often, dishonest employers abused young inexperienced girls. The document was produced in the context of Negroes’ rights distress, namely the black Baptist women who had come to the North to earn a living. At that time, the Northern states were developed enough, with educated people who could work properly. Thus, the place of the document’s release influenced its context. As a church document, “A Northern Phase of a Southern Problem” emerges believability as it is created to tell about the time of hardships and propose possible solutions. The author was a representative of the National League aiming at advocating the right of the Negroes and founder of the California Federation of Colored Women’s Club with purpose of protection of Baptist black women. The author published and addressed the document for the wide public to be aware of the troubles of the women, thus giving them recommendations of legal moving to the North and advices for fair working conditions.

In “A Northern Phase of a Southern Problem”, Layten argues the problem of colored people, namely women, in search of jobs and defense of their rights. Thus, Southern girls went to the Northern states, looking for higher income; however, their skills were not sufficient, which made them struggle financially and seek protection from social organizations. Thus, American volunteers created the National League to protect the rights of colored women and give them a chance to work honestly. Furthermore, black emigrants also are informed about the conditions that they will encounter in the North. Some of the would include high prices for everything, severe climate for the Southern people, prevalence of unfair work agencies, which sent people into slavery, and addresses of the volunteer organizations to refer to in the case of emergency The information in the review is presented in the plain tone to perceive it clear and understand.

Writing this document, Layten wanted to caution the citizens of the South about the dangers they might face upon coming to the North. The review is consistent as the author has tried to present all the causes and outcomes for colored women after their arrival to the North and the recommendations for the emigrants to follow the coming. The full information in the review is presented without any contradictions. Moreover, reading between the lines, employers can find the appeal to them not to utilize the labor of colored women unfairly and the urge to advocate their rights. The information described in the review is credible and proved by the historical situation and facts of that time. The thesis of the document can be easily confirmed by plenty of documents, for example Charles Wesley’s Negro Labor in the United States, 1850-1925 or “The Practice of U.S. Women’s History: Narratives, Intersections, and Dialogues” edited by Vicki L. Ruiz, S. J. Kleinberg, and Eileen Boris. The information in these books proves the thesis of the violation of colored women’s rights.

The thesis statement of the document under study states that it is difficult for black women to find suitable work. I agree with this thesis as the document describes hardships of black Baptist women and gives recommendations to avoid tough situations. The volunteers supporting black women’s labor wrote the document from a clearly identified point of view. It is directed at colored women and the employers who must treat the work of colored people fairly.

National League for the Protection of Colored Women

The document under study is “Annual Report” published by the National League for the Protection of Colored Women. This report describes the conditions that colored women face after coming to the North and things not to do it until they get a proper training and skills. The above document is a report written by the National League founded by S. W. Layten and Frances Kellor in 1906. The National League for the Protection of Colored Women contributes to the predicament of females in domestic work in the Northern cities. A chief focus of the league’s activities was the movement of southern African Americans to the Northern regions looking for a better life. The League published this report to prevent colored Southern women from coming to the North for work. The great amount of these women working in unfair conditions and under dishonest employers made the League publish this report. The National League is of the highest level of familiarity with the subject of protecting colored women from being abused by dishonest employers as the League has been created with the chief purpose of preventing colored women from the unfair labor practices. The organization is a direct observer of the situation of the Southern women who come to the North in search of a better life but instead, they are treated unfairly.

The review was published in 1910 in the time when the USA experienced the problem of internal migration. Thus, colored women moved to the North looking for jobs and a better life. However, in the Northern states, women, especially those untrained, faced difficulties working long hours and in unfair conditions. Moreover, job agencies often treated employees dishonestly, turning women into slaves. The document was published in the context of colored women’s rights distress in the USA at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, the Southern states experienced troubles in the labor industry while the Northern regions flourished with more educated people and developed industries that offered various jobs. Thus, American hardships of that time influenced the context of the document. Published by the National League, the document meant to be public and addressed to the population of both the Southern and Northern states. As the National League was a serious organization, the document released by it was believable. The National League fought for the rights of colored women in the North, which meant that the document was addressed to the black people, thus warning them not to go to the North. At the same time, the document cautioned employers from utilizing the cheap labor of colored females. The organization represented the entire population of the country and published the review for the wide public of the USA.

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This review argues the difficulties that the Southern women face coming to the North. The review states that cost of living in the North is high, the only job colored women can find is in domestic households, and the environment is not safe for women in general. Most often, uneducated women go to the North and they are mostly unfamiliar with the life of that region, which is why they go to the job agencies, where they are treated unfairly, thus becoming slaves. Therefore, the National League tries to prevent the unskilled women from coming to the North, until they find a proper work and get enough training, sending the messages to the Southern schools, newspapers, and churches. The author wrote the document in plain tone with warning notes. By publishing this although short but informative document, its authors tried to demonstrate situation in the Northern US states with the unfair working conditions of women of color. The warning for the employers to behave fairly in regards to their workers may be read between the lines. Plenty of sources can prove the information described as well as that time situation in the USA, for example, Charles Wesley’s Negro Labor in the United States, 1850-1925 that depict unfair conditions of colored people’s labor in details. As the document is short, the authors omitted examples of the situations that had occurred with colored women during job hours, which is a rather significant information for the paper. However, the review is structured properly without any inconsistencies. The thesis statement is also exact as it provides the clear statement of the problem in the North.


Thus, the thesis of the document is “The situation which faces the colored women in the North, especially the untrained Southern women, presents more difficulties than in the South”. It inflects the head for entire document and sates the chief opinion being discussed through the entire review. Written by the National League, the document brought a huge impact on the women, going to the North, and warned them about the problems that they might face working in the North. Moreover, the review warns the employers to treat the colored labor forces fairly to avoid misunderstandings with the government. The organization’s review fully reflects the conditions of work and living of the early 20th century people in the Northern states of the United States.