International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. However, what is really International Women’s day? What is the history behind it?

The earliest Women’s Day observance was originally called “National Woman’s Day,” and it was held on February 28, 1909 (my birthday) in New York. This day was organized by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of Theresa Malkiel.

In August 1910, an International Socialist Women’s Conference was organized to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was to proposed the establishment of an annual Women’s day inspired by the U.S. 100 women from 17 different countries agreed with the idea to have a Women’s Day to promote equal rights including suffrage for Women. At that time, Americans still celebrated National Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February.

So why March 8th? In 1914 International Women’s Day was held on March 8 in Germany, possibly because that day was a Sunday, and now it is always held on March 8 in all countries. Another thing to note is that the 1914 observance of the Day in Germany was dedicated to women’s right to vote, which German women did not win until 1918.

Other countries made the day a holiday as well. The State Council in China proclaimed on December 23 that March 8 would be made an official holiday with women in China given a half-day off. The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in the International Women’s Year, 1975. In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

Back in the states, in 2011 when Obama was still president marked the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, Barack Obama proclaimed March 2011 to be “Women’s History Month”, calling Americans to mark IWD by reflecting on “the extraordinary accomplishments of women” in shaping the country’s history.

Since then, there has been a theme every year. The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is: ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’. The focus of the theme is on innovative ways in which to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

Georgia O’Keeffe‘s Jack-in-the Pulpit No.IV Visual Analysis

As I examined the formal qualities of Georgia O’Keeffe‘s Jack-in-the Pulpit No.IV, I chose to analyze this piece as opposed to the others because it was a piece I never seen before, nor have I heard of this artist, therefore making me analyze it more closely and discover other aspects of the work, besides aesthetics.

Georgia O’Keeffe painted a series of six canvases depicting a jack-in-the-pulpit. The series begins with the striped and hooded bloom rendered with care, continues with successively more abstract and focused pieces, and ends with the essence of the jack-in-the-pulpit, standing alone against a black, purple, and gray field. All of her paintings reveal her feelings and emotions rather than the appearance of the objects.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit No.IV is an Indian turnip. There are many different elements to take into account when analyzing the form of this painting. Jack-in-the-Pulpit No.IV shows her personal feelings of what a flower naturally looks like. The line quality depicted in the stem of the flower and the leaf of the flower is made up of both curved lines as well as many noticeably straight brushstrokes. The flower is magnified and abstracts the flower across the canvas until on the “Jack” or the stamen is shown. The shape of the flower seems like it is blowing gently by the composition of the lines that make up the stamen are curved to the right of the canvas. The corners of the canvas that shows the background to the flower is abstracted by a bright white and sky blue color, which are the same colors used for the stamen of the flower.

By the look of the painting, the texture of the flower seems silky smooth by the use of soft brushstrokes to create cool colors of greens and blues. The thick brushstrokes are used for the definite shadowing around the stamen of the flower.The lines generally seem not to have an axis because the flower creates the illusion of focus to show the beauty of the flower. Her artwork including Jack-in-the-Pulpit No.IV is meant to challenge and inspire artist.

Georgia O’Keeffe enlarged her flowers within the picture frame in part to force people take notice into the beauty of a flower. Jack-in-the-Pulpit No.IV. Instead of an average flower being in a setting of a background making it an object, she makes all her flowers symbols in nature. By each series she paints, the flower gets closer and closer to the viewer. The petals have a marvelous bloom that show motion by the brushstrokes of the curvilinear line and give a viewer a since of beauty of nature.

Sonny’s Blues By: James Baldwin

After reading James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”, the hurt and anguish illustrated a lasting impression making the story ambiguous in places leaving the reader with questions. There are several parts in “Sonny’s Blues” that indicate, symbolically, that the neighborhood of Harlem is the turmoil of a battle of good and evil. Baldwin wanted to talk about how the symbolism of jazz music is an influence the complexity of human relationships and how the pursuit music can symbolize salvation.

“Sonny’s Blues” is a story about suffering and pain and about how different people experience these emotions and manage to overcome them. Both the narrator and his brother Sonny are real human beings trying to endure the hardships of life and, as a consequence, trying to grow up. “Sonny’s Blues” relates to how the “possession and sale of heroin” in society can cause temporary or permanent damage and suffering. Baldwin endured similar suffering through his lifetime, such as being forced to work ill-paid jobs, living in poverty for eight years, and participating the civil rights struggle. (Cengage)

“Sonny’s Blues” takes place in the same time period as Baldwin was writing in the 1930’s. During this time African Americans began to form a new kind of jazz, later known as “bebop” and later still, as “Hard Bop.” Bebop is a very complex and abstract kind of music that involves chords from the original melody played in blistering speeds. This form of jazz is mentioned in “Sonny’s Blues.” Sonny is a 1940’s blues musician and jazz was the influence that changed his entire life. For example, Sonny asks his brother to hear him play in Greenwich Village bar. There, the narrator accepts the offer “though the nuances of the music and the subtle interplay of the musicians”. The narrator comes to a sublime understanding of Sonny and his importance in music as a release from existential suffering (Baldwin 332).

Jazz is an art form and emphasis centered in the 1930’s by and for black Americans. The blues-jazz motif is significant for Black American life and art. In “Sonny’s Blues,” the story shows how jazz is an eminent way to relieve pain and suffering. For Sonny to get over his addiction to heroin and the critical moments in his life, jazz paves the way to help him express how he feels without speaking. Being a jazz musician and his treatment of Blues coincides beautifully and helps him escapes from the negativity in New York City and his addiction to heroin (Tackach, 199).

Baldwin, being an African American, wrote “Sonny’s Blues” as so it would speak to the black community of New York City. The 1930’s and 1940’s were a terrible time period for black American. The struggle for civil rights often led to addictions and land many black Americans in jail, for example Sonny is arrested for “peddling and using heroin” (Baldwin 319). Between the times that Baldwin lived in New York City and the way Sonny lived in the story, the addiction to heroin explains a typically black stereotype in black communities.

I believe that Baldwin tried to incorporated parts of his successful life that got him where he is today, in the story “Sonny’s Blues”. The narrator is unknown in “Sonny’s Blues,” but is similar to James Baldwin. For example, the narrator is educated as an Algebra school teacher in Harlem and Baldwin went to school in Harlem. (Baldwin 319).

The major aspect of Baldwin’s life that is incorporated into the story “Sonny’s Blues” are the biblical points. Baldwin compared his being unloved by his step father to the biblical character Ishmael. Baldwin would use bible stories as a foundation for his fiction. In “Sonny’s Blues” Baldwin explicates the biblical illusion of the “cup of trembling” glowing and shaking over Sonny’s head as he plays the piano (Baldwin 341). Indeed, religious and biblical themes are the center of Baldwin’s best literary stories and his personal experiences in the Christian church (Tackack).

The main symbolic meaning of “Sonny’s Blues” is jazz. Jazz is the symbolic meaning for Sonny’s need for freedom and to express his feelings that he cannot voice. Jazz has a symbolic meaning of the relationship of the two brothers, the older brother, the narrator, does not understand the “language” of jazz which Sonny wants to use to communicate. As the narrator’s own understanding of jazz grows, so too does his relationship with Sonny.

John Reed Moore, an educated scholar, explains that “Sonny’s Blues” was “unequivocally successful.” Baldwin wrote this short story to give black Americans the freedom of expression and the major themes that conquer jazz music. Baldwin writes “Sonny’s Blues” in first person and made the narrator unknown to bring out the rhythm and Baldwin’s linguistic style to the theme of jazz music. Also, he incorporates some major points from his life into the story as well. In general, “Sonny’s Blues” depicts the freedom of art expression.

Works Cited

Boyd, Herb. Baldwin’s Harlem A Biography of James Baldwin. 4th ed. Vol. 133. NEW YORK: Atria, 2008. Print.

Cengage, Gale. “James Sonny’s Blues Baldwin Criticism.” ENotes – Literature Study Guides, Lesson Plans, and More. Jeff Chapman, 1996. Web. 05 Oct. 2009. <;.

Sherard, Tracey. “Sonny’s Bebop: Baldwin’s “Blues Text” as Intracultural Critique.” African American Review 32.4 (1998): 1+. Print.

“Sonny’s Blues Study Guide by James Baldwin Study Guide.” Book Summaries, Study Guides. Web. 06 Oct. 2009. <;.

Tackach, James. “The biblical foundation of James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”” 2007 Marquette University Press – Gale Group, 1 Jan. 2007. Web. 6 Oct. 2009.

Tsomondo, Thorell. “NO OTHER TALE TO TELL.” 36.3 (1995): 1-16. EBScohost. Web. 5 Oct. 2009.