African American women during slavery in the United States of America were multifaceted individuals. They were cooks, child bearers, providers, and activists. During the 18 th and 19 th century, the lives of African American women changed as they were dehumanized, tortured, and discriminated against. They became medical experiments, all while attending to their forced duties of captive servants and laborers.
For a long time -- at least six decades -- photographs have laid down the tracks of how important conflicts are judged and remembered. The Western memory museum is now mostly a visual one. Photographs have an insuperable power to determine what we recall of events, and it now seems probable that the defining association of people everywhere with the war that the United States launched pre-emptively in Iraq last year will be photographs of the torture of Iraqi prisoners by Americans in the most infamous of Saddam Hussein's prisons, Abu Ghraib. The Bush administration and its defenders have chiefly sought to limit a public-relations disaster -- the dissemination of the photographs -- rather than deal with the complex crimes of leadership and of policy revealed by the pictures. There was, first of all, the displacement of the reality onto the photographs themselves.