Custom «The War on Telephone Poles» Essay Paper Sample

The War on Telephone Poles

The invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell was not well received by the populace. Initially, many people did not accept the invention as something that was worth; they dismissed the invention as of being of no use, and they forcibly and violently resisted any erection of the telephone lines especially the poles. The invention was made during the era of high racial tensions with profound violent attacks against the black people. The whites vehemently attacked the blacks with the telephone poles, hanging them on them and sometimes even hanging the already dead corpses of black men on the telephone poles; they viewed them as symbolic crucifixes, and their use in violence against blacks acted as a redemption fight against both blacks and telephone lines.

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Bell's telephone invention faced lack of popularity because the idea of erecting telephone poles connecting each home seemed inconceivable; the distance to be covered was enormous and the lines for each building seemed unimaginable. Even the financial investors forecasted their doubts on the viability of the invention.

The main impediment to the creation of telephone lines was the stiff, calculated opposition to the erection of telephone poles. After erection of the poles, owners of business and homes cut them down while others defended their sidewalks from the telephone companies armed with rifles. The telephone workers faced real threats of being tarred and feathered for putting up telephone poles. It is ironic that even the legal system, municipal councils, and police officers did not regard cutting down of a pole as a crime. In fact, they actively participated in cutting down the poles (Biss 19). Private property owners were very reluctant to allow the use of their property for a shared utility. The people wanted to maintain the status quo especially due to the strong regard they had for aesthetics, delusion with purity, and unfounded repugnance of the manner the wires and poles marred a landscape. This was further aggravated by unfounded fears that distance, as it had always been defined and measured, was collapsing.

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The racial tensions coupled to the obsession with purity greatly increased incidences of violent crimes on the telephone poles. Though the poles were conveniently used as gallows poles, obviously, they were neither the causes nor were they related to the issues at hand. The phenomenon was just coincidental that they resembled crucifixes; they were in public places, straight and high-reaching, with a crossbar. Across many towns in the United States, many blacks were strung on the telephone poles. Telephone poles were used to break into cells to beat black suspects who had been accused of various crimes by the whites.

Even when the victims were killed by other means such as shooting, stabbing or mob justice, their dead bodies would still be dragged and strung on the telephone poles. Many lynching and murders were committed on poles and efforts to pass laws addressing these crimes were met with stiff resistance from the senate. For instance, the Senate (Biss 20) blocked two bills passed by the House of Representatives. The violence meted against the blacks on the telephone poles was so widespread. There were greeting cards with pictures of a man burnt to charcoal dangling from a telephone pole in Texas. The man's legs were chopped off beneath the knee and his arms twisted up; these cards were mailed freely.

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Regardless of the opposition and destruction of the telephone poles, the telephones companies managed to erect the telephone lines and distribute telephone service to numerous cities covering thousands of kilometers and poles. Bell lived to witness the maiden telephone call from New York City to San Francisco, a distance that required 130,000 telephone poles (Biss 22). The telephone evolved to be a vital service that is needed by all. The racial violence also ceased; in the present America, all the rights of every individual are guaranteed regardless of race. Indeed the evolution of the telephone has come a long way.

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