Throughout the history of the United States, African Americans have experience adversities, overcome great odds, and have made a noticeable impact on U. S. culture, politics, and social understandings. The African American culture can trace much of their roots back to the slave trades of the 16th century. Historians agree that the first African Americans were brought to America by San Miguel de Guadalupe to be used as slave work force, and settled in what is now known as South Carolina.
Shortly after, disputes over leadership of the colony lead to fighting, which the African slaves took advantage of by revolting, escaping, and sought refuge with local Native American tribes. The first Africans brought to English occupied America were brought to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619, due to many English settlers dying from the harsh conditions, to work as laborers. Many historians believe that the first African Americans who were brought to early English America were not brought as slaves, rather indentured servants.
In fact, the Africans who occupied early English America could legally raise crops and cattle to purchase their freedom, and by the 1640s and 1650s, several African families came to own farms near Jamestown and actually became wealthy in colonial standards. What is now related to the African American slave era technically started in the early 1600s when the Dutch West India Company introduced the first 11 slaves in present day New York in 1625, but the concept of a race-based slave system did not come about until the 18th century.
The colonial 1700s in America gave rise to the modern concept of slavery for the sear fact of a need of a workforce. The colonies fertile lands and abundant resources lead to commodities that Europe needed and wanted, thus African American slavery began to fill the need of a workforce and gave rise to the race-based slave system in Colonial America. This race-based slave system continued through the American Revolution and into the Civil War. When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation the reign of slavery in the United States was made illegal, freeing the roughly 3. million slaves (in legal terms only. ) Many states that supported slavery continued to support slavery until Union troops were sent to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, of these states, Texas was the last to be emancipated in 1865. Along with the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln, during this time in U. S. history Congress ratified the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the United States Constitutions. These amendments became known as “the Civil War amendments. The Civil War Amendments made slavery illegal, entitled African Americans to the title of natural born citizen and helped protect the rights of freed slaves, and entitled African American’s (males) the right to vote respectively. African Americans although freed by legal standards, faced a long road of racism, prejudice, and discrimination. The African American community rose against the oppression they faced during the times of the civil rights movement. This period of U. S. history would not only shape African American futures, but the countries future as a whole and lead to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, and is a crucial legal reference for acts of discrimination. Although African Americans faced and still face discrimination, the perseverance and determination of those past and present have lead to a more unified United States and a less discriminative population as a whole. Although much of African American history has been that of negative aspects, African Americans play and have played a prime role in the shaping of culture, the arts, music, other forms of culture, and social elements of the American way of life.
Roots of African Americans influence on music such as Jazz and Blues can be traced to the songs of inspiration sang by slaves on plantations. African American influence can be seen in dance in such Swing forms the Lindy Hop, which originated in Harlem around 1927. The impact of African culture on the mainstream culture of America can be seen in many forms, of which are numerous. The African American impact on culture is apparent in the south, as much of the interaction between the population and African Americans was experienced in the southern states.
When discussing African Americans the association is usually the civil rights movements of the 1960s and slavery before the Civil War, but African American History as an ethnic group and a society is much more than the atrocities that the group faced throughout U. S. History and of today. Throughout the history of the United States, African Americans have experience adversities, overcome great odds, and have made a noticeable impact on U. S. culture, politics, and social understandings.
African Americans as an ethnic group and as people have faced discrimination and rose above to become the largest minority group in the United States. The following quote “have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation” (Martin Luther King, Jr. ) embodies the new American ideal shaped by the African American perseverance and ability to overcome. Works Cited "African American. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.
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