African Americans in America: The Fight
HIS204: American History Since 1865
Dr. Kirk Strawbridge
30 Sep 13
African Americans have struggled with freedom before America was even a country. Freedom is something that Americans today take for granted. We look at third world countries that continue to exercise discrimination and segregation and America looks down on them. American’s fight wars to protect those discriminated against in other countries. We are almost numb to the fact that we, as Americans, were one of these countries. Some may even feel that these ignorant ideologies still exist today. No one wants to look o the past when this country was not acting like the America we try to project today. “Land of the Free” just fell a little short back then. African Americans has faced challenges from Slavery, the Civil War, the Civil War Amendments, Reconstruction Era, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement. African Americans have endured a long and hard fight to get the freedom and rights they deserve. You must not forget the past to create a foundation to not repeat the acts in which are hard to read. The fight has been long and many have been injured or killed along the way. The road started with slavery. The civil war separated the country and eventually leads to the Reconstruction Era. The reconstruction feed America’s racism and segregation that still has lingered effects in the country. African Americans fought not only for rights but also for America as a country. The civil rights movement empowered African Americans to stand up and be strong for what they deserve. This fight has been a long and hard struggle for African Americans. It all started with Slavery. Slaver first started when the first boat carrying African slaves arrived at Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. Africans were indentured servants and not slaves at this time. It is unclear is racism fueled slavery or if slavery fueled racism (Racism, 2011). This ship would spread slavery through the colonies (Ransome, 1995). Hope seemed bleak for African Americans with the removal of the passage condemning slavery. The struggle for slaves continued as states enacted laws to prevent slaves from fleeing to freedom. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 gave the owner or agent of a slave the power to return the slave to the State in which they fled (David, 1995). Congress then banned the importation of slaves in 1807, but what good is a ban when it is not enforced (Brady, 1972). America was unsure of the status of African Americans and it continued to get worse with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. This gave whites unlimited power to capture and African American person whether free in the North or an escaped slave. This did not sit well with the North (Maginnes, 1971). It seemed the fight for freedom was inevitable and many great African Americans fought this fight. Dred Scott sued for his freedom in in the Dred Scott vs. Sanford case of 1857. Although Scott stood up for his rights and freedom, the courts deemed that African Americans were not citizens. Now that slavery was now a way of life, the country would soon divide which led to the Civil War. In 1861, the Confederate attacked Fort Sumter, South Carolina, thus sparking the Civil War. Slavery was not the focus on the Civil war; rather it was an attempt to separate the agricultural regions of the North and South (Govan, 1940). Although the Civil war was viewed as the battle for freedom of slaves, it was actually an economical war between the industrial North and the farming South. When President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, it all changed. The Emancipation Proclamation did not free the slaves. It did however begin the steps of making this a reality. The flaw was that the Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to the loyal slave slates. It only applied to the Confederate states. Two years later, the South surrendered. The surrendering of the South lead...
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