What Happened At Sharpeville in March 1960?

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History Coursework

Assignment 2 - What Happened At Sharpeville

On March 1960?

1/ I think that sources “A” and “B” agree with each other on quite a few things. Both sources agree that there were Saracen armoured cars, which arrived at noon. The sources say that the crowd were shouting out slogans about their country and that the Saracens went to the police station. The sources agree that there were people present on the streets of the town. The sources also disagree as source “A” tells us that there were three Saracens present whereas source “B” says that there were a dozen of them. One main difference between both sources is that source “A” suggests that the protest was very peaceful and states that the people were “grinning and cheerful”. The source also tells us that there were “many” people in the crowd, source “B” gives a different view and states that there were “thousands of Africans shouting”. Source “B” suggests a very violent view of the protest, as it tells us about a shooting which happened in the morning of that day, leading to the death of an African. The source tells us that people were injured and that the police were forced to move people out the way. The pint I am trying to make is that source “B” does not suggest a peaceful protest whereas source “A” does.

2/ I say that sources “C” and “D” support source “A”. I say this because source “C” shows us a picture of soldiers sitting on a Saracen and source “A” clearly tells us that there were Saracens present. Both photographs show a peaceful crowd, source “D” shows the crowd waving and with their thumbs in the air suggesting peace. Source “D” does not show that the people were blocking the way for the police as they are allowing a car to pass through. Children are shown protesting in the photographs relating it to source “A” that “kids” were present. The pictures also supports source "A" by showing many people but not thousands as source "B" does.

3/ I believe that source "F" is highly reliable, not just because the man in question is a Holy man, but also because he has no reason to lie. He is a member of the church and does not have any political alignments or other reasons for misleading the public. He was not a racist and he is morally required to tell the truth and the statement that he made was also under oath in a court of law. If he was lying he faced legal prosecution and because of his position he would also have been publicly disgraced. As a leading public figure and as a senior man of the church he would have only said things that he believed and thought that there was evidence for.
The evidence is fresh in his mind as this statement was made just days after the shooting so it is unlikely that he has forgotten or made up details. Though he was not actually an eyewitness he has had the advantage of speaking to many people who were. From this he would have been able to piece together a pretty realistic account of what truly happened and has not made up the story or taken his facts from rumours or newspaper accounts.In addition to this he bases his conclusions on realiable medical evidence.Photographs of the event back up his version of events and so do reports from independent journalists.

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4/ Source "E" could be clouded by the writers emotions and though this helps us to understand the effect the massacre had it does not actually help us with understanding the facts. As a news article it may have been dramatised a little, good stories make bigger profits after all and there are no other reports to compare his to. He is an eye witness however and this primary source, however emotive is a first hand account. We still to have remember this was only one man's interpretation and he could not possibly have seen everything going on.
Photograph "G" ...

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