I’ve always heard about the segregation and slight racism my family experienced growing up. As they are originally from South Africa, my parents were raised during the apartheid. Populations were divided by color, and we fell under the category of “Asians”. By no means did my parents bring this up regularly and I’m not suggesting that I’ve had to deal with the same situations, but it allowed me a parallel when reading Urban’s article on Yun Ch’i-ho.
Yun came to the US at the age of 24. He was considered an exiled politician from Korea because he was associated with a failed uprising in Seoul (Loftus). He spent two years at Emory with the purpose of helping the Church’s missionary expanding to Korea. Once here, Candler took him under his wing and we hear about all the experiences through Yun’s diary.
Surprisingly I assumed that Yun would have experienced more racism taking into consideration that he was at Emory in the 1890’s. It seemed like in an all white school, the only racism mentioned was when he became infatuated with a white woman and would hear that it was not appropriate by close friends. This happened on multiple occasions, for example, when Nettie Candler was quoted saying, “You didn’t stay there long enough, as if had you stayed long, you could have gotten one” which was interpreted as no white women would think of a Korean that way.
Yun was always in a position where he was overanalyzing everything that went through his mind subconsciously. If he said something, he would make sure it didn’t offend his peers. If he saw an attractive woman, he would think how it would affect her future. He was very cognizant of his interactions while at Emory, and I think his experience would have turned out completely different had he not.
I thought the article on Kitty’s Cottage was refreshing to read in which a person with important community standing makes a decision. In a time where black women had little rights, Andrew took a stance against popular beliefs. The end result was Andrew building a cottage near his house that allowed the black slave, Kitty, to stay in America as a free woman. This cottage is now behind Oxford’s Old Church and holds a great deal of history.
Romance and Race in the Jim Crow South: Yun Ch’i-ho and the Personal Politics of Christian Reform
Kitty’s Cottage and the Methodist Civil War