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Rebus: Where Words and Images Meet: Social Science

In the world of the Arts and Sciences, we value words and things. And we value the interplay of both to gain meaning, insights, and new perspectives. Though we offer no puzzles here, in this inaugural edition of REBUS, we do offer various observations on

Water as a Path toward Freedom

Ever since their forced arrival upon American shores, Americans of African descent have exercised creative agency to persevere despite repression. Whether in search of freedom during slavery, in search of equality and identity during the turbulent era of segregation and the struggle for Civil rights, or in search of righteous pursuits amidst corruption in the contemporary period, water recurs as a symbolic element – a conduit between oppression and both figurative and literal freedom. During slavery, African Americans.

Questions to Consider

1.      “Freedom,” “Equality,” and “Justice” are concepts that are central to this essay.

·         What do each of these words mean within the context of this essay?

·         Is it possible to enjoy one of these conditions without the others? Why or why not?

·         Is one of these conditions more important than the others? Why or why not?


2.      Among others, this essay profiles a poet (Langston Hughes, 1921), a reverend (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963) and a rapper (Sean Kingston, 2011).  

·         What do all of their messages have in common?

·         What changed and what has not changed for African Americans over the years represented  by the writers and thinkers profiled in this essay?