Fighting For Equality
Anita D Taylor
HIS204: American History Since 1865
History has told the story of the past since the beginning of time, whether it’s about how humans came into existence, to the history of the men who became presidents. No matter what was told it is apart of what we call history, in so many words it’s the study of the past. Part of history is the struggle of African Americans to become apart of a world that saw them as being less than equal to the rest of the human race, history tells the struggles of how this group of people fought continuously to become equal. From being freed from slavery to adjusting to a new found way of life, being told they were free yet laws were instituted to keep them still in bondage. There were some that who put forth the effort to ensure that African Americans of all ages were given the rights as their fellow man to learn, have a better way of live and the right to vote.
African American men who were in listed in the military endured segregation as well as racial hatred and bad living conditions. Even though they were fighting the same war as the whites they still had to endure being mistreated in all areas of life as a soldier. Being degraded as being cowards having to be threatened with force for them to fight instead of giving them the credit that was due to them. President Theodore Roosevelt gave the African American soldiers a compliment to an African American journalist then when being interviewed for the Scribner’s Monthly the president changed his story. (Astor 2001) African American soldiers risked their lives for their country, a country that did not see them as equal was given what seemed to be hope for the military life to be turned into another shut door of hopelessness once again.
Before African American soldiers were allowed into the military there was a law that prohibited blacks from enlisting into the army. The federal law dating from 1792 prohibited African Americans barred them from bearing arms in the U.S. army, even though they served in the Revolutionary War of 1812. Even after they gained entry into the army black soldiers were not hardly used during battle. It wasn’t until there were more black volunteers than whites that a turn around took place for black soldiers. Strength in numbers as volunteer blacks stood together to fight in a battle that they were not invited too.
Racial discrimination included in unequal pay for African American soldiers, and receiving a harsher punishment when caught by the enemy than the whites. Blacks would receive a pay of ten dollars a month from the military with a deduction of three dollars for clothing expenses where as white soldiers would receive a pay of thirteen dollars and not fee for clothing. It was until June of 1864 congress granted equal pay to the U.S Colored Troops so black soldiers could receive the same pay as white soldiers. With these changes being made black soldiers also began receiving equal medical care while in the military. Changes for African Americans were slowly coming into play as they stood tall and firm awaiting a victory far more greater than any war they could ever fight in and that is the victory of being equal.
Even though these soldiers faced hard times in the military they were still determined to be considered equal even if it meant loosing their lives in the process. There is a old saying that says some things are worth fighting for and with that being said a fight for their freedom and equality is worth the fight. Even though they did not get their honors while they were fighting, history has made it known through letters, old war veterans, and live testimonies to bring the truth into the light all wrapped into a subject called history. They were men fighting two battles just to be apart on one society the human race, taking on discrimination, racism, and cruelty by whites was one fight, the other was the physical fight to stay alive...
References: A Grand Army Of Black Men: Letters From African American Soldiers In The Union Army
Richard Blackett The Journal Of American History volume 80, no.4 (March 1994) page 1476-1477 Published by Organization Of American Historians DOI:10.2307/2080668
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2080668
Voting Laws, Educational Policies and Minority Turnout John E. Filer Lawrence W. Kenny and Rebecca B. Morton Journal Of Law and Economics volume 34, no.2 (October 1991) pp371-393 Published by the University Of Chicago Press article stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/725447
The Pennsylvania Journal by Jeff Davis http://books.google.com/books?id=PqIG_nuHjEsC&pg=PA172&dq=Laws+created+to+keep+blacks+from+voting+after+the+civil+war&hl=en&sa=X&ei=486MT9bxK6bs0gH3y-n0CQ&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Laws%20created%20to%20keep%20blacks%20from%20voting%20after%20the%20civil%20war&f=false
American History 1865-Present / End Of Isolation Mark D. Bowles Bridgepoint Education 13500 Evening Creek Drive North, Suite 600 San Diego, Ca, 92128 Copyright 2011 Bridgepoint Education Inc.
Freeman, Elsie, Wynell Burroughs Schamel, and Jean West. "The Fight for Equal Rights: A Recruiting Poster for Black Soldiers in the Civil War." Social Education 56, 2 (February 1992): 118-120. [Revised and updated in 1999 by Budge Weidman.]
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