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There were always dead black bodies being fished out of the river, and raids on their homes in the ghetto. The Shilskys were looked down upon because they were Jews, and because their store served the African American population. Her mother helped Ruth escape to New York when she became pregnant by her African American boyfriend. Ruth wanted to marry Peter when she found herself pregnant, but he explained he would be lynched if anyone found out.
Ruth and Peter were criminals in Virginia for violating the miscegenation laws and could have gone to jail or have been targets for racial violence. Ruth is young and starved for love when she starts going with Peter, not thinking of consequences. She describes, however, that when he would take her to his house in the ghetto, his friends were afraid and avoided her. Once she is pregnant and finally understands he could be killed, she is terrified.
She submits to the abortion in New York as the only solution.
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The question of race that had always simmered in the McBride house boiled over during this period, as it did in the whole country. The efforts towards desegregation in the South were escalating, and there was much violence as protesters were thrown in jail or killed on the streets. The civil rights of African Americans were dearly bought, with many lives lost. When the civil rights movement began to take shape, African Americans were still barred from registering to vote in the South or running for office.
Segregation made it impossible for African Americans to mingle with whites in any public place. The federal court ruled segregation in schools unconstitutional in , but it was still a fact.
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If African Americans were arrested and thrown in jail, it was common for them to be beaten and held without charges. African Americans had little opportunity for employment except as domestics or laborers or farmers. Few received a college education and black professionals were rare. In , Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama, broke the rule that blacks had to sit in the back of the bus and was arrested.
It was the spark that set off demonstrations and sit-ins by African Americans everywhere to win their civil rights. In , when African American James Meredith tried to attend the University of Mississippi by federal court order, two people were killed and twenty-nine marshals shot trying to protect him.
The march on Washington, where Dr. This bill barred discrimination in public places. The Voting Rights Act of suspended poll taxes, literacy tests and other measures that kept African Americans from voting. Within months, a quarter of a million African Americans registered, and within four years, voter registration in the South doubled, and African Americans entered the political scene as a new force. Martin Luther King, Jr. Kennedy in , Malcolm X in , Dr.
King and Senator Robert Kennedy in Though Ruth McBride was not political, she supported the civil rights movement. How does the Shilsky family history fit into the great European Jewish emigration to America? The Shilskys came from Poland in For the Jews in Russian Poland, many hardships contributed to a third of the Jewish population coming to America, the largest Jewish immigration that had ever taken place.
Economically the people were squeezed out of their professional roles and wealth, and jobs became more menial and harder to find. Universities were closed to Jews. Famine, cholera, and starvation were common. Pogroms, or violent attacks, by Cossacks, troops loyal to the Tsar, disrupted and destroyed the towns. Conscription into the Russian army was one way the Tsar broke up the families, for a Jewish boy would be forced to serve, thus taking him away from his religious practices.
The Color of Water by James McBride Essay
Fishel Shilsky was a rabbi, or religious teacher, who studies and teaches Orthodox Jewish law, the predominant tradition of the East European Jews. The ancient oral tradition was written down once Jews began dispersing all over the world, and rabbis taught and interpreted through their study to other Jews. The Torah, or Jewish scripture, along with the Talmudic commentaries on religious practice and the codified Mosaic law in the Mishna and Gemarah, are the sources for Orthodox Jewish lifestyle.
Every detail and aspect of life is covered in Rabbinical writings called halakha, or the way. In the Polish Jewish village, which was closed to outsiders, the father as head of the house, and rabbi as respected teacher, were expected to be upholders of the prescribed practices. Shilsky is criticized in Suffolk for giving up his holy calling to go into business, but it was hard for him to make a living in a secular country. Later Reform movements in Judaism softened the strictness of the laws to fit contemporary living.
The complex way of life described by Ruth, where the Jews keep to themselves, keep Sabbath, and eat in the kosher way, prevented Jews from integrating easily into American society. The trials and tribulations faced by these two characters have taught readers universally that everyone faces difficulties in life, but they can all be surmounted. Whenever Ruth or James McBride face any forms of racism, especially for being related to each other, having different skin colors, they can always look to religion to aid them through these tough times Free Essays words 3.
I wanted to know how extraordinary her life was. The author is an authority on the information presented because this book is the story of his life. This book is an autobiography of James McBride where he integrates narrations made by him and Ruth, his mother. She was born in a Jewish family in Poland , but her family ran away from the Nazi Holocaust and came to America His white mother, Ruth's abusive childhood as a Jew led her to search for acceptance in the African American community, where she made her large family from the two men she marries.