A History Lesson: Slavery in America

By: Jose Zuniga

The life of black people in the beginning

Slavery started in 1619, when “The White Lion brought 20 enslaved African ashore in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia. The crew had seized the Africans from the Portuguese slave ship Sao Jao Bautista.” Around the 17th century, “European settlers in North America turned to enslaved Africans as a cheaper, more plentiful labor source than indentured servants, who were mostly poor Europeans.” They believed it was around 6 to 7 million enslaved people that were imported to the new world of the 18th century alone both men and women. They mostly worked on “tobacco, rice and indigo plantations of the southern coast, from the Chesapeake Bay colonies of Maryland and Virginia south to Georgia.”

“After the American Revolution, many colonists—particularly in the North, where slavery was relatively unimportant to the agricultural economy—began to link the oppression of enslaved Africans to their own oppression by the British, and to call for slavery’s abolition.”  However, after the Revolutionary War, The United States (U.S) constitution acknowledged the institution of slavery “counting each enslaved individual as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of taxation and representation in Congress and guaranteeing the right to repossess any “person held to service or labor” (an obvious euphemism for slavery).”

Slavery ended when the amendment passed by congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865.

Life after slavery

In 1865 the 13th amendment granted African American freedom but not the resources that they needed (Money, no opportunities, education, starvation, and diseases) Mortality rates were high in some areas. Whites guessed they would die out. “After Union soldiers had fully withdrawn from the South in 1877, southern states began passing punitive measures targeting freed slaves—vagrancy laws allowed counties to imprison unemployed and homeless African Americans, then put them to work in chain gangs.” With Violent vigilante organizations like the “Ku Klux Klan” sprung up. Frighten African Americans, many had nowhere to go, so they returned to the plantation “where they found themselves tied to the land as sharecroppers, while millions of others migrated north in search of better opportunities.”

Life of African American’s now

Black progress over the past century has been difficult for many, and they still struggle to this day, racism, death, injustice. Many have lost their lives over simple stuff that could have been talked about. “Conventional wisdom to the contrary despite. And yet the nation has many miles to go on the road to true racial equality. “I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories, but as I look around, I see that even educated whites and African American…have lost hope in equality,” The struggle has not ended yet, it’s a slow process which should have ended after slavery ended, equality shouldn’t be earned but given to everyone.

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