American History / African American Hardships

African American Hardships

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Autor:  anton  03 April 2011
Tags:  African,  American,  Hardships
Words: 1285   |   Pages: 6
Views: 916

During pre-colonial African kinship and inheritance, it provided the bases of organization of many African American communities. African American men were recognized for the purpose of inheritance. They also inherited their clan names based on their accomplishments, as well as other things when one decease. Land was not owned in many parts of Africa during the pre-colonial period. It was yet held and distributed by African American men. Access to the land by women depended on their obligations or duties within the gendered division of labor. Agriculture was the job of many African women. Men believed in having several wives that would all work together as farm workers and do whatever duties necessary as required.

Africa is considered to be a multi-lingual country. There are eleven officially recognized languages their, many of which are often spoken but not widespread. English is generally understood across the country. It is one of the eleven common spoken languages but it only ranks 5th out of the eleven spoken languages. During the 15th and the 19th century, major changes had happened to the African and North American continents. Europeans ventured to Africa where they began a trans-Atlantic slave trade. Many Africans were taken as free people and then forced into slavery in South America, the Caribbean and North America. This slave trade had brought about a different type of racism. It was the color of your skin that determined whether a person would be a free citizen or be enslaved for life. This slave trade also devastated African lives and their heritage.

Some slaves were sold and traded more than once, often in a slave market. Families were torn apart, children hysterically cried while they said their good-byes. Some infants were taken from their parents at birth with no knowledge of who they are. During this colonial era, more than half of all African Americans lived in Virginia and Maryland. Most of them lived in the Chesapeake area where they made up fifty to sixty percent of the population. In 1790, the first census was taken which showed that eight percent of the black population was free. This may not seem like a great deal but, this gave parents hope that their child will one day be free of slavery or that slavery may not exist by the time their child is grown.

The majority of the African American slaves worked on tobacco plantations and large farms. Working in a tobacco plantation was one of the hardest things to do. It was an eleven month crop, which had four different stages to it and required constant care. According to The Colonial Williamsburg, there were some advantages to working on a farm or plantation verses working in a household or an urban setting. Generally, slaves in plantations lived in complete family units, their work dictated by the rising and setting of the sun. They generally were allowed Sundays off. Though, the disadvantage was that slaves were more likely to be sold or transferred than those in a domestic setting. They were also subjected to brutal and severe punishments because they were regarded as less valuable than household or urban slaves. Urban and household slaves generally did not live in complete family units. Most domestic environments used female labor. Therefore, there were very few men. In fact, jobs for men in an urban setting tended to be coachmen, waiting men, gardeners and tradesmen.

The disadvantage of being an urban worker is that there was no privacy. They lived in loft areas over the kitchens, laundries, and stables. They worked seven days a week with a lighter work load on Sundays. Their work days were set by the task instead of by the sun like the plantation workers. On the other hand, the advantage of being an urban worker was that he/she is fed more food, capable of dressing better, and is able to hear about political events that might affect one’s race.

In the middle of the 17th hundreds, both free and enslaved African Americans manifested a deepening attachment to America. The Majority of African Americans had been born in America rather than in Africa. This new generation of African Americans will not know Africa the same way their parents did. They will not also know what it feels like to be free, since all they ever grew up to see was daily whippings. By the 1760’s, African Americans started to voice their opinion on slavery. They used poems, letters, and petitions to try to appeal for slavery to be abolished. A few Caucasians were also on their side but, their appeal was denied.

In 1775, the Revolutionary war had come about. African slaves were considered to be free as long as they fought in the war. 5, 0000 African American free and non-free slaves had severed in this war. The slaves did not care that they were entering a war; instead, all they could think about was their freedom after the war. Well, they were tricked. After the war was over, they rounded up any surviving African Americans and sent them to slavery in the Caribbean. The ones who were left behind were captured and were brought by a slave owner. Also, after the American Revolution, the movement to eradicate slavery had risen in the north. Slave owners in the south became scared and reasserted the rights of African Americans. The reassertion of their rights was completed in 1787, at the Constitutional Convention. Southerners forced several compromises that laid the foundation for a New Nation, a nation which espoused liberty, but practiced bondage.

In 1780, a woman by the name of Elizabeth Freeman read the New Constitution and took a part of that constitution as well as a part from the Virginia Bill of Rights. She then pointed out that it said “all men are born free and equal.” Relying on that language she sued for emancipation. It was not until 1790, that more than 59,000 African Americans lived free. But slavery still continued, it just spread westward with the New Nation. African Americans were now able to build houses and farm communities as well as a church. The African American church was now becoming a center for abolitionist and social activity in the black community. Schools were also started in the basement of the church. Since slaves were free on the eastern side of the country, the ruling class realized that they needed some way to control black communities as a whole. They achieved this plan by getting individuals in black communities to act as mediators. These individuals were called “Black Governors”. The office of Black Governor originated in Massachusetts, and then appeared in Connecticut and Rhode Island. The main job of a Black Governor was to help the Caucasians gain control over the African Americans.

In 1863, Lincoln authorized the formation of black combat units to serve in the civil war. Most blacks did not care about what the issues of the war was. They joined because it provided a better income which was an alternative way of making money compared to the poorly paid domestic labor that most blacks had endure. The civil war resulted in the 13th Amendment of the Constitution which abolished slavery all together. Although black soldiers fought in the war which eventually ended slavery, they still did not have civil rights. The whites did not want to share political power with African Americans. This had brought about the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. African Americans were now guaranteed civil rights. This change opened doors for African Americans so that they can progress and excel in the political system. Public schools were now established and access to jobs outside domestic labor was now available.



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