Cultural Diversity ETH/125
October 20, 2012
Historical Report on Race
Historical report on African Americans from a historian writing about the racial group in a book chapter.
What have been the experiences of this racial group throughout U.S. history? People of African ancestry arrived in the Americas along with the first European explorers. After 1619, however, when a Dutch trading ship delivered twenty Africans to Jamestown, Virginia, to work for whites, people came to see dark skin as a marker of subordination. The demand for slaves was especially high in the South, where the plantation system required large numbers of people to work the cotton and tobacco fields. In the northern states, where slavery had less economic value, the practice had gradually come to an end. In the South, it took the Civil War to abolish slavery (University of Phoenix, 2012).
After World War I, when Congress closed the borders to further immigration, the need for labor in the booming factories sparked the “Great Migration,” which drew tens of thousands of men and women of color from the rural South to the industrialized North. These were times of great achievements in African American life as, for example, the Harlem Renaissance produced writers such as Langston Hughes and musicians such as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. Even so, racial segregation in neighborhoods, schools, and jobs was a way of life in most of the United States (University of Phoenix, 2012).
African Americans’ struggle for full participation in U.S. society is far from over. People of African descent are still disadvantaged, African American families still have below-average income, and the black poverty rate is almost three times as high as the white poverty rate. Although about 84 percent of African Americans now complete high school, their college graduation rate is well below the national average (University of Phoenix, 2012).