The history of African-Americans in America makes them aliens in the American continent. History says that the ancestors of African Americans were the slaves, who were enslaved from Africa. The history of this race in America is closely relater to industrial revolution, geographical discoveries and slavery. Due to industrial revolution, the sugarcane abs banana plantations in America faced the problem of scarcity of workers. So they decided to enslave Negroes or the black people of America to work in America. This helped to flourish the slave trade from Africa to America. Later, the slaves were freed by the law of abolition of slavery by Abraham Lincoln. This law was the first blow on apartheid or racial segregation that African Americans faced for centuries in America. The struggle of African Americans in America is for equality of rights for all. For centuries, the Africans in America were under segregation, but now the change in situation is able to change the mind of the non Africans in America. The best example is that Americans are ready to accept a black senator as their president. But earlier the situation was different and African Americans were treated as slaves. The struggle of African Americans in America is the story of evolution of African Americans as a strong race, from slavery to free citizenship.
First, the struggle was to abolish slavery and slave trade in America. The slaves from African continent helped America to develop its economy through the monopoly of cotton trade. The sweat and labor of the blacks was not considered as valuable because they were slaves without any special rights. In Africa, they enjoyed freedom but in American continent they were not even considered as human beings, but slaves. The cruelest part of slavery is that the off springs of a slave also were considered as slaves. The struggle for freedom from slavery and its result provided enough confidence to the leaders. The leaders who fought for the independence of African Americans had to face so many obstacles in different stages. The main aim of the fight was to include the members of African community in political process of America. The main reason behind the exclusion of African Americans from American politics is that they were economically weak. So the exclusion was on economic basis. The fight against class exploitation and racial oppression still continue in America.
The short term and long term results of slavery
The history of slavery in America is the history of missed opportunities of African Americans. Slavery caused racism because the masters were not ready to accept their slaves as freemen. This ill feeling helped to grow racial thoughts and hatred of African Americans by others. In the initial stage of slavery, the slaves were restricted from earning money of their own. But the economic development of European colonies in America was due to the labor of slaves. But they were not ready to change their Attitude towards the slaves. Colonists continued their policy of racial discrimination and unfair treatment towards the slaves. The result was that the slaves felt alienation in American continent. This feeling of alienation resulted in civil war and eventually the abolition of slavery in America.
Struggle of African Americans in America is the amalgam of various factors and it is important to point out those factors which helped the struggle for equality.
Jim Crow Laws
The Jim Crow laws discriminates black population in America and it played an important role in establishing segregation against African Americans. The black people had to keep themselves away from white people. The black people were not allowed to use the public services of facilities. There were separate facilities for blacks and they were forced to use the same. They were not allowed to enter the area of white people. There were division in same religion and blacks were forced to attend the church which was built for them. This resulted in a clear division in the society on the basis of race.
In 1865, the Southerners created Black codes to limit the freedom provided to the slaves. It was an effective way to inhibit or restrict the newly gained freedom of African Americans in America.
Segregation is the sense of superiority among white in America and it leads to racial segregation of Africans in America. This is considered as an impediment to the unity of American states. The article namely -History of Segregation in America by Chris Jones makes clear that racial segregation of black community created problems to the unity of the country. The separation of races forced the people to begin civil right’s movement. “Segregation was a major impediment to unity throughout the country during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Even so, the separation of races led to the momentous Civil Right’s movement.” (Jones 2007).
The law of the government to establish separate schools, courts and Juries for the blacks lead to further segregation.
The 13th amendment of law on slavery was helpful to abolish slavery from American continent. The 15th Amendment guarantees the right of all citizens to vote without any discrimination on caste color or race. Passing of a law is easy but to enforce it is difficult. The Jim Crow voting requirements effectively prevented the black community from voting process in elections.
Intimidation by KKK
Ku Klux Klan or KKK is a particular white underground terrorist group which is against the freedom of blacks in America. They are not ready to accept black people as equal to them. Because of the terror created by this group, many Africans in America kept away from elections. This helped to reduce their representation in the parliament.
Civil rights movement
The American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968), was aiming to abolish racial segregation and discrimination. It helped to restore the right of suffrage in Southern states of America. But the Jim Crow laws, Black codes and the intimidation of KKK restricted the blacks from further development.
Separate but equal
The policy of Separate but equal is another form of segregation of black people. This aims to divide the people on the basis of their color. For example, a Negro had to use facilities and services for the colored only. He/she do not have the right to have the facilities provided to white. This is an indirect form of segregation and it affected the dignity of blacks in America.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, shortly NAACP, is an international institution for the welfare of colored people which aims equality. It is against racial discrimination, segregation and mob violence. With the help of this association, the members of the black community in America gained more confidence to defend racial segregation.
The fact about discrimination in present America is that there is a positive change in racial thoughts. The black community in America is able to gain more confidence of other communities. The new age of globalization and privatization provide ample chances for blacks and whites to mingle with each other. But the foretold fact does not prove that all the Americans are treated equally. It is evident that the struggle of African Americans in America helped a minority to attain the elite state of American society. But most of the members of the community are under economic problem. So, the aim of the African American leaders must focus on the development of their community. The struggle of African Americans against racial segregation is the history of Black community in America. The development from slavery to freedom and to the mainstream of American society is not a dream because American society accepts multiculturalism and multilingualism.
JONES, Chris. (2007). History of Segregation in America. [online]. Associated Content.