Topics: American Civil War, Black people, African American Pages: 2 (785 words) Published: January 23, 2013
Emily Picard
HIST 1302
Forty Acres and a Mule in the 21st Century
After the Civil War in the South, the phrase “forty acres and a mule” was a well-known phrase. This phrase referred to the rights that blacks had gained to own their own land due to the unpaid labor that they had gone through during the period of slavery. Primarily, the Freedman’s Bureau was put in charge of dividing abandoned and confiscated land into forty-acre tracts for sale to the former slaves of the South. Although, this was the original intent of the nation during the Reconstruction Period, redistribution eventually failed and lands were given back to white owners. Despite the fact that the actual act of slavery no longer remained, the remnants of slavery were left behind in social context. Slavery ended years ago, African Americans today are greatly affected by the social racism that takes place every day in the South. Racism is something that is still very much present in today’s society and still portrays what the black slaves had to go through before the Civil War. The question is: should every African American be compensated for what their ancestors had to struggle through? Or is this really fair to the whites in America who have gone through very hard times as well?

I think that the “forty acres and a mule” that the former slaves were promised really portrays the trust that Americans truly have for each other and the truthfulness that remains of our history. They promised the blacks a right to land of their own-but not only that; a place for their families to live and be able to become successful as a farmer rather than a slave; a place where their descendants could find a better life and not have to go what they went through. Although these blacks present in America after the Civil War were poorly treated, all that they went through has no connection to the blacks in America today. I believe that the American spirit is the right to EARN what you get and WORK HARD for...

Cited: Darity, William Jr. Forty Acres and a Mule in the 21st Century.
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