Beginning in the early 1600's and lasting well into the 1800's, the enslavement of African-Americans was not only a practiced but a common and accepted mode of labor. During this period, many divisions arose between the different African ethnic groups that had been brought to America. But, despite the separations created by ethnic, generational, class, gender, and religious differences, a new culture surfaced from among the many African groups which generated a common identity and built unity within the African American communities.
One of the major separations among the Africans was that created by generational gaps. Some slaves had been born in Africa, others had parents born in Africa and others had families that had had two or three generations born on American soil. The slaves that had been brought to America had a hard time relating to those who had been born in America and whose parents had been born in America because of the different experiences and knowledge that they had. Slaves born in Africa knew what it was like to be free and respected and knew that their lives had much more meaning to it than to be serving others. Slaves where many generations of their family line were American born had a harder time identifying with the African culture. Sankofa, the self-appointed guard of the sacred ground where the slave trade once took place, calls to all people of African descent to "go back to their roots", to familiarize with their ancestors struggles and accomplishments (Sankofa). A way in which the different generations united was through stories told by each other. The story of King Buzzard who allowed his people to be sold into slavery and was then punished by having to "wander alone and eat carrion for the rest of his life" emphasizes the need for African unity and the importance of remaining a community because larger numbers generate stronger resistances ( Stuckey 5). Although there were many gaps in the different generational... [continues]
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