African-American Identity Blog essay
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The discrete identity of African-American culture emerged from the past experiences of slavery and the strong impacts of racial discrimination. This culture developed disjointedly from the American culture; this is because the black Americans desired to maintain their own cultural practices. However, this culture originates mainly from Africa. The African practices, beliefs, and traditions have over the time blended with those of the Americans. This has resulted in the dynamic and unique culture that is found in the United States of America (Michael, 2003).
This happened during the 17th century. Most of the African immigrants arrived in America in search of paid employment so as to be able to survive. They freely mixed with the white locals, and they served as servants in their farms. The African asylum seekers were treated as indentured servants and not like slaves. Some of the Africans began to own land and started settling permanently. Economy in America was flourishing gradually. However, the Americans were faced with the challenge of inadequate laborers. This led to a gradual transformation of the social status of Africans from servants to slaves. Laws in regard of slavery had not yet been enacted, when the first African servant was sentenced to slavery in a court of law. This marked the beginning of slavery. It was then declared that all the people who did not have an American origin and were not Christians are to be held as slaves. Therefore, slavery was fully authorized and laws on slavery were soon established (Ronald, 2010).
The slave Period
At the beginning of the 19th century, a large number of Africans were forcefully taken to America to become slaves. The American constitution advocated for slavery. Therefore, slave trade activities were freely carried out and it became a huge economic activity. The slaves worked in the cotton farms under heavy surveillance from their white masters. The high demand of cotton led to the increased slave labor. The slaves lost total connections with their families and friends due to enormous deportation. The slaves lived in squalid conditions, they barely had food and most of them succumbed to death. The slaves were dehumanized and were treated with a lot of brutality making them live in constant fear. Public executions, rapes, whipping, mutilation, and imprisonment were the forms of punishment that were used by their masters. The slaves were denied access to learning facilities, decent health care, and having religious meetings so that they could not be empowered; this made them rebel (Leslie, 2010)..
Period of Civil War
This is one of the most memorable events in America that occurred in the 19th century. The Africans felt that the ideals of human dignity, justice, equality, and liberty had been neglected. This created conflict between the Africans and the Americans. This led to the secession of the states in southern America. Most of the Americans wanted the state of affairs to remain the same and they completely resisted change. On the other hand, change was indispensable for the blacks. This resulted in war that lasted in America for four years. At the end of the war, the many black American slaves finally got their freedom, and democracy in the political systems was attained. It is also marked as the beginning of the gradual acceptance of the black Americans by the Americans (Michael, 2003).
The Reconstruction Period
After the war, the government had a hard task in dealing with the economic, social, and political issues of the South. The freed slaves found it challenging to live together with the resentful and bitter Americans. The Americans wanted harsh conditions upon the blacks in the south as a kind of punishment for their role in the war. There were divergent opinions about the reconstruction and this led to intervention from the government about this contentious issue. The main aim was to ensure equal rights for the freed slaves with those of the whites. However, even after the end of slavery nothing much really changed as they were continuously discriminated. Black codes were established and this limited the rights of the blacks (Leslie, 2010).