SLAVERY & RACISM IN AMERICA THROUGH TIME
Slavery & Racism In America Through Time
AMENDMENT I – to the Bill of Rights, the right to be able to make your own choices about your life… In so many words that is true. The first amendment speaks of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of petition, but who did this pertain to? Not everyone was privileged to these rights, which is sad when in today’s society; we have so much to be thankful for. Our rights are being guarded, fought for by thousands of men and women in the Armed Forces day and night, and have been for years, but since 1865, the fight for equality did not exist. So today there is a spirit that America has, called Patriotism, which means something different now than it did before 1865. Today we have comfort and a reason to live here; a purpose.
Coming into this world as a black, white, brown, green, or orange person, we all have a choice as to who we want to become, and how we want to call the shots, if we want to be lawyers, police officers, judges, waitresses, or run for the president of the United States. Did it ever occur to you, that before you and I and our grandparents were born, not any of this was an option? People had children for one reason; whites had children to raise and become the owners of their plantations depending on the sex of the child. If you were an African American slave, you were born an African American slave. No choices! We all have choices now. The mess it took to get America to where we are today is an amazing adventure that is going to be and adventure to write about.
Before the reconstruction in 1865, African Americans were treated in ways depending on their masters. The authority the masters had over their slaves, made it easy for them to take advantage of the situation by beating them and being torn up by dogs, which is what one slave said that lived to tell her story during an interview by Ila B. Prine in a Federal Writing Project in 1937. Charity Andersen lived in Mobile Alabama, and was said to be 101 years old. Most of the former slaves during this project were close to a century old if not older. They speak of broken English, but not of a language of a country, but of illiteracy. The slaves were not given education rights, for themselves or children. They were simply put on this earth to work for the white man. There were also the slaves who had a better way of life because their masters felt that mistreating their slaves would not make for a good investment for their future if needed to sell them later. The slaves would need to be healthy and hard working, well mannered, and trusted. To beat, and “feed them to the dogs”, as Charity well stated, would not promote more work out of the slaves either. In these interviews the slaves spoke of freedom after the emancipation as if they had never left. They were set free, but really, were they? They had choices to move on and make more of their lives, but most were oblivious to what was out there. They lived alone, never learned to read or write, but spoke of freedom as it being the best thing that ever happened. Would you agree?
Abolishing slavery did not mean the white man accepted the black man into their world. This brought hatred, ugliness into society more than could be imagined. The anti-black riots began the summer of the Elections of 1866. Many were killed and injured. Still, African Americans did not give up fighting for equal rights from the beginning of the reconstruction. The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified which allowed African American’s that were born in America to be called U.S. citizens, but were limited to their constitutional rights. Although they kept getting beat down, they demanded the right to vote, and in 1870, finally, the fifteenth amendment was ratified and gave the right for black males to vote. (Davidson, 481)
The fact that the black man was able to vote meant a lot, but what did that mean to to the rest of the African...
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