Solomon Northup, Cesar Chavez, and Louis B. Mayer





Solomon Northup, Cesar Chavez, and Louis B. Mayer

Solomon Northup

            Solomon Northup worked as a rafts man on the waterways of upstate New York. As Northup grew, people recognized him as an excellent fiddle-player who frequently entertained them. Once Northup gained fame, he was approached by members of a musical group to join them as they were in need of new talent. Unaware of the situation, the group drugged him and sold him as a slave at an auction. Preceding numerous auctions, Northup underwent different situations through different masters but was freed and filed charges against those who lied to him. Northup in the hands of his masters was brutally whipped since he protested being a free man (Northup, Eakin, and Logsdon 61). All the slaves were imprisoned in a slave pen where they could not carry out normal activities. These conditions brought about sicknesses such as small pox. Northup is denied any form of communication with his family.

            Northup vowed to try to create social change between the slaves and their masters owing to the conditions he experienced. Northup did this by filing a legal complaint against his kidnappers and the people who enslaved him. They arrested the kidnappers and tried them in a court. However, they were acquitted since the law prohibited African-Americans from testifying against the whites. As much as his captors filed charges against Northup for trying to defraud them, Northup was confident he would win the case since it would bounce back on his captors. Northup used the diversity of the media to relay his plight while in slavery hoping that the public would recognize his captors and bring them to justice. The media published a memoir written by Northup, which was visible by the public (Alexander, Leslie and Rucker 495). As a result, the captors were arrested and illegal practices in domestic slave trade were brought to light.

Cesar Chavez

            Cesar Chavez was an American labor leader and an activist who advocated for peoples civil rights. With his articulate public relations approach to issues and the aggressive non-violent tactics to solve challenges, the farm workers were motivated towards ensuring a moral existence was present (Davis 10). As Chavez grew, their vast land was lost in a bid to acquire a title deed for their house. His family faced different challenges where they had to pick farm produce even during extreme weather conditions. The reward for this was through low wages considering the presence of corrupt labor leaders. His ageing mother was forced to work extra hard and provide for the family as well as enable them to attend school. However, for most families, the children did not go beyond certain grades and had to join in farm work. Moreover, the government restricted migration aimed at pursuing different conditions by the African-American slaves.

            With an aim of changing the social injustice experienced by the workers, Chavez introduced labor organizations as a propelling factor of activism (Davis 15). Chavez greatly supported strikes carried out by the workers as they protested for an increase in wages. The strikes lasted for almost five years therefore creating attention worldwide. As a result, the motion was presented in court where various subcommittee members supported the workers. Chavez insisted on non-violent methods and relied on the support of volunteers fro the Universities, religious organizations and mass mobilized techniques. While holding legislative campaign marches to alter the legal policies against social injustice, the Modesto march generated significant media attention who constantly reported the direction of events (Chavez, Jensen, and Hammerback 52). As a result, the media convinced the workers that their grievances were aired.

Louis B. Mayer

            Louis B. Mayer was one of the most influential film producers who used his position to develop the talents of others. Louis, son to immigrant parents grew up poor after dropping out of school to take responsibility of his family. Louis did this by helping his father in the scrap metal business as a junk collector (Eyman 20). Although he had an outstanding personality, Louis was considered to be of the lower class. Without any valuable skills or proper vocation in language, Louis vowed to put in extra effort and support his family. His passion for theatre grew to high levels and he used the money acquired from junk collection and sale to watch the live vaudeville shows (Eyman 27). When he grew and had his own family, the junk business was lagging therefore prompting him to take up odd jobs. He got weary of the family business after realizing it could not be salvaged and ventured into the theatre business.

            Owing to the fact that Louis ventured into a business he knew nothing about, he decided to purchase a theatre with a religious film. As much as the theatre had a bad reputation, Louis chose to pursue more theatres and restore their repute. Once he gained exclusive rights in the film industry, he used his influence to spot new talents and discovering potential leads that were a tremendous hit in the film industry. The new child stars would produce family-oriented films. Through the media, Louis sought to develop a “star” that was systematically built from nothing. He chose to give people who approached him a chance to prove their worth as he was given. Louis frequently reminded his staff that they are a “family” regardless of their backgrounds. To promote equality in the workplace, Louis listened to any grievances presented by the employees showing his impeccable support for social change. Some of the employees viewed him as a father figure.

Works CitedTop of Form

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Alexander, Leslie M, and Walter C. Rucker. Encyclopedia of African American History. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2010. Internet resource.

Chavez, Cesar, Richard J. Jensen, and John C. Hammerback. The Words of César Chávez. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2002. Internet resource.

Davis, Lucile. Cesar Chavez: A Photo-Illustrated Biography. Mankato, Minn: Bridgestone Books, 1998. Print.

Eyman, Scott. Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer. , 2005. Print.

Northup, Solomon, Sue L. Eakin, and Joseph Logsdon. Twelve Years a Slave. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1968. Print.

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