Battle comes to college to share book
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 16:03
To animate the living conditions of a slave, author Rufus Battle will be giving a lecture about his memoir “One Man’s Battle” from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Library on March 13.
Battle will address the oppression of African-Americans in the United States, the aspects of racism and the African-American civil rights movement.
“The book will give the reader a first-hand example of a black person living in this time period (during the 1950-60s,)” the 65-year-old said.
Distant from established society, Battle and his family lived in a sharecropper’s shack in rural Louisiana in exchange for cheap labor.
For a person who grew up on a plantation and being the eldest of 13 children, Battle said he had to be the provider for his family. Working at a young age, however, negatively affected his lifestyle.
“I started working when I was 8 years old. At 10, I was working with men,” Battle said. “I wasn’t allowed to be a kid. I was able to say I was a man, but I struggled adjusting to life (upon leaving the plantation.)”
Social sciences department Chairperson Manu Ampim is eager for his students to attend the lecture because Battles provides a first-hand account of living as a slave.
“I teach History 121, History of the U.S from 1865 to current time. With (Battle’s) experiences working in the cotton fields in Louisiana, it directly relates to the teachings,” Ampim said. “Students who are studying this time period will get a broader aspect of the living conditions of African-Americans.”
Liberal arts major Martell Shaw agrees.
“Normally, when you read about what these people went through, you can only get an idea about (their situation,)” Shaw said. “It’s different when you have someone in front of you who experienced that kind of situation, because you get to see it in their face and actually feel what they went through.”
Because Battle wasn’t exposed to anything else besides the plantation, he said he wanted to emphasize the civil rights movement during his lecture.
Individuals like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X highlighted African-Americans facing the cruel circumstances in American society, he said.