James Needham: Reflection narrative

23 Oct

While researching the life and accomplishments of James Needham, I found it very challenging to find a great deal of information. There was a lack of online sources and journals that even mentioned his name. Needham’s personal life concerning life, death and family were nowhere to be found, so I continued researching his career accomplishments. Needham proved to be a notable figure through his leadership roles in various abolitionist groups. I expanded on those groups and communities – garnering clues about what type of person he might have been. I could not find any information on his individual role at the convention, but based on his previous leadership positions, I made an educated guess that he was a relatively vocal and active member of the convention.

The articles that I found covered important historical events in the 20th century. Local newspapers printed stories about the abolitionist movement, the Emancipation Proclamation, and of course, the Colored Convention. Although very few of these articles mentioned anything about Needham, they provided great insight on what type of African American activists took part in them. Needham’s experiences and association with the church proved that he, like many other abolitionists, was determined to give blacks equality. Realizing Needham’s life goal made the unfound information of his personal life seem rather trivial. It is not clear whether he was from an affluent family or an impoverished one, but his participation in the Philadelphia Vigilance Association and Sunday schools highlighted his relentless efforts for a good cause.

While writing this biography, I considered my potential audience to be teachers and students who plan on researching James Needham in the future. They may also want to know about the groups that he was a part of, so I divided that information into paragraphs. The language that I wrote with was similar to that of most biographies. It is similar to how most students will write when uncovering the history of black abolitionists.


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