Friday, September 9, 2016

Journal Three- Alexis Hensel

   Part One:   So far, Holding On, is not as boring as I thought it would be. I guess I really did "judge the book by it's cover." At first, I assumed that reading short excerpts on people's lives would be monotonous and dull, but I was pleasantly surprised. As I have read these profiles I have a better sense of people's goals, perspectives, and the strengths that they have due to the experiences and obstacles that they have had throughout their lives. A strength that I believe that this novel has is it's ability to put the reader in a state of mind that they would have never had the ability to otherwise. The simplicity of Isay's writing gives the reader the ability to digest what is being said, and to find a deeper meaning in each profile. However, a weakness that I believe that Holding On has is its length of each profile. As I am reading, once I get interested on the story being told, I feel as if the excerpt is over, left with the feeling as if something is missing. Once I start to get a better understanding of a particular person's life and story, the profile is over.
     Part Two: The profile that intrigued me the most was Geneva Tisdale. Her ability to tell her story in such a way that felt as if she was speaking to me directly is what stood out to me the most over the other profiles.When she speaks about the whites being the only employees allowed to serve customers, and the people of color working in the back of the restaurant was described, it reminded me of something that I have experienced recently. Over the summer, where I was working, some of the tasks that I was presented with were not easy and required some strength. However, instead of excusing me from certain tasks because of my inability to successfully complete them, the fact that I was female was enough of a reason to assume that I was incapable, so they asked if I please not do them. A male was expected to do this job, when I was just as capable. This frustrated me for the simple fact that my gender was enough of a reason to segregate me from others. After reading Geneva's profile including her insight on sit-ins and racial discrimination, it gave me even more respect for what people of color went through just to be seen as equals to those that were white. Because I experienced something way less extreme as far as discrimination goes, I feel horrible for what others have went through. The picture used for Geneva's profile describes her perfectly, in my opinion. The stern look on her face shows that her life has not been easy. Working the same job for forty-two years making five-fifty an hour shows her diligence and strength. Also, the fact that Geneva is the only person photographed, with no one in the background of the restaurant, shows that she is a part of this place, and this place is a part of her as well. She has experienced history at this restaurant that others simply look over. Another aspect of this profile that stood out to me was the theme that I picked up on. After years and years of dedicating yourself to something, it can all end in an instant. Just like Geneva's experience of losing the job that she has had her entire life unexpectedly, we all experience something similar. Each day that goes by, we may neglect to realize that in an instant it can all be over. Death will be a reality, as morbid as that sounds, but the legacy that we leave behind has the ability to live on.
     A research question that I came up with was in regards to who started the sit-in movement at Woolworth's Restaurant. I was able to find that four students of color, Ezell A. Blair, Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond were the ones that initially started the movement, resulting in others to follow. I was also able to find that the sit-ins lasted six long months at Woolworth's.


  1. I loved reading about when she was one of the first black customers to be served on the lunch counter at the restaurant. She talked about how she scarfed down her food so she wouldn't be photographed for the newspaper. I also thought it was interesting how people who were actually working at the restaurant were the first "customers" to be served.

  2. I like how you compared Geneva's experience to your own experience. They are very different but similar in a way. It's nice to read about people who work hard everyday without complaining and are thankful for what they have.


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