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African American Social Standings

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African American Social Standings

This research paper will discuss the African American social standing in America throughout history. It will discuss the highs and lows and the pros an cons of the progression and also the different periods that African Americans lived through since they were brought to America.

The progression of African Americans in America began with a practice called slavery. Slavery is the state of a person who is the chattel of another. It began in 1441 when Portuguese men kidnapped 12 black Africans from Cabo Blanco and moved them to Portugal. This opened the door to slavery in the Americas. A British statesman stated that “Slavery is a weed that grows on every soil.” The first African Americans slaves in America were brought to Jamestown, Virginia as servants and or slaves in August 1619. In order for slavery to work Africans had to made to seem inferior, one of the main an most common ways to show this was through religious racism ( Aretha, David pg. 21 ) The practice of slavery was then sent to the south were they were put on plantations. Plantations consisted of a large mansion like home surrounded by a large farm where slaves planted and harvested crops and performed other jobs which they weren’t paid for. While on the plantation the slaves called the owner Master or Mistress, they provided the slaves with food housing and clothing.( David Brion Davis, World Book online... Slavery) While on these plantations many of the slaves faced severe consequence for disobedience. They received consequences for not working hard or fast enough, they would also be used as an example in order to control the others. Their harsh punishment would include branding, whipping, mutilation, chaining and sometimes the harshest punishment of all cold blooded murder. Slavery was one of the worst periods in American history. During this period of slavery there were few revolts but many runaways. While slavery continued to spread and get more brutal in the South, the North disagreed with the idea of free labor. Their difference fueled the abolitionist movement.

The Abolitionist Movement was the first movement that lead to the African Americans’ political and physical freedoms from slavery. “Antislavery activity began in colonial days. During the 1680's, Quakers in Pennsylvania condemned slavery on moral grounds. In the late 1700's, several leaders of the American revolutionary movement, including Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, spoke out against slavery.” (David Herbert Donald, World Book Online… Abolitionist Movement). During the start of the movement there were almost no public newspaper that publicized the abolishment of slavery. William Lloyd Garrison, an American journalist and abolitionist who became famous in the 1830 for denouncing slavery, published the first issue of his abolitionist newspaper The Liberator January 1st 1831, which was at that time the first Abolitionist newspaper. The reason William Garrison published the newspaper was because he was tired of the other methods that many abolitionists had tried. Garrison said slavery should be ended immediately. Another front runner during the Abolitionist Movement was Sojourner Truth. She was an ex-slave and also one of the main figures in the fight for women’s rights and equality. On January 1, 1863, the Abolitionist goals were reached when President Abraham Lincoln the 16th president issued his Emancipation Proclamation. It read that “all persons held as slaves” in rebellious states “are and henceforward shall be free” (McPherson, James M. World Book Online… Emancipation Proclamation. ) . Around the same time Congress passed the 25th Amendment into Constitution which therefore abolished slavery. Months later it was ratified. Following the Emancipation Proclamation, The North (union) and the South (confederate) began a civil war which lasted from 1861 to 1865. The war ended with many of the major cities in the South in ruins and most of the Northern cities left untouched.

The Reconstruction period in the U.S followed the Unions victory over the Confederate Army in the civil war . The period was used to rebuild the south and patch-up the relationship between the North and South. Along with rebuilding and patching up relationships, the North sent teachers to the south to educated the African American ex slaves who had became newly members of the society. The teachers taught ex slaves reading, writing an arithmetic. The Reconstruction Act called for a new Constitution to be established in each state. It also gave Freedmen the right to participate in voting. The 14th Amendment was also passed and ratified during the Reconstruction period. “The 14th Amendment granted full citizenship to all people born or naturalized In the United States of America . Many of the laws passed during this period were set in place to protect the rights of former slaves, such as allowing blacks to vote an giving them

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