The Legacy of Slavery

The very first slaves to the United States of America had been brought during the time of 1619. It was not until the time of the 13th Amendment that had abolished proper slavery which was followed after the Civil War that the blacks were able to gain their full freedom. However, even the newly blacks that had been freed had been majorly illiterate as well as bereft of any money or property. Even inequality and racism were quite rampant in the surroundings, especially in the Southern regions, wherein slavery had been predominantly existing for many years & centuries. For giving proper aid to bring about the black assimilation into the given white society, several state as well as the federal governments had implemented various democratic reforms between the time of the years of 1865 & 1875. This was termed to be the Reconstruction Era. The 14th Amendment, for instance, had guaranteed the blacks that their equal rights would be federally protected, and then the 15th Amendment had granted the black citizens of the country the proper right to cast their votes in the country.

Even after these innumerable measures & governmental policies that came up towards safeguarding the newfound rights of the former slaves, the overall gains of the highly promising Reconstruction Era tend to be very short-lived. In the given climate of white hegemony from the Southern regions at its extremity, several employed a great number of methods of keeping the blacks from availing any of the provided benefits of proper citizenship. For instance, some of them sought towards keeping the blacks disenfranchised completely through intimidation or intense harassment. There were several number of intense racist groups started using even more extreme methods of harrowing like lynching & various other forms of extreme violence –for instance, brutalizing and terrifying the blacks who had been seeking the exercising of their respective rights or advancing their proper standings.

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As the guarantees from the Constitution of the United States through its 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments had continued eroding itself, the United States Supreme Court then perhaps struck the most effective & crippling blow towards the black struggle for proper equality. During the time of the 1896, the Supreme Court had given the ruling for the case of “Plessy v. Ferguson” that the whites and the blacks might be legally separated until the facilities given to them were equal. The facilities for the whites & the blacks, however, never tend to be equal. Significantly, the “separate but equal” principle of the Supreme Court of the United States, through the backing segregation on legal terms, had given the white society another powerful tool for keeping the blacks towards enjoying even the basic rudimentary rights of their respective citizenship. With the reinforcement from the Supreme Court with its segregation practices in the South, the overall environment of the given white racism had given birth to the legendary Jim Crow –southern laws and customs that had kept the drinking fountains, parks, restaurants, streetcars, and other forms of public places from getting rigidly segregated.

As a response to the Jim Crow, which by the time of 1900 had extended across all the given spheres of the existing public life, several major leaders which belonged to the black community had stepped up for debating over the given political strategies for fighting racial inequality and injustice. One of the major dominant figures of the given early movement towards the given civil rights had been the fiery & intellectual W.E.B Du Bois –who was responsible for exhorting the blacks for fighting for their respective rights that they had deserved. The crusade of Du Bois had led towards the formation of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) which was a civil rights organization that was responsible for bringing together the major lawyers, activists, and educators, towards collectively fighting for the civil rights of the blacks. Through proper agitation, lobbying, as well as proper legal action, the NAACP had continued the steady campaign towards ending the given segregation in education, housing, and various other areas of proper public life.

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During the outbreak of the 1st World War, more than a quarter of million troops including black men had joined the US military. However, they were relegated to individual segregated units during the same. During the same time, several blacks had traveled towards the north for taking advantage of the burgeoning industries in the field of defense. However, the given massive migration of the blacks had only aggravated the cases of unemployment including other major problems that were already plaguing the urban areas in the northern provinces. The existing racial problems in the region continued on an unabated level. When the US entered the 2nd World War, like before, the African Americans had been subject to the previous rampant discrimination particularly in the military units and the defense industries –even after their hearty willingness towards risking their lives in the given combat. The given experiences of the wartime, which were teamed up with the proper redistribution of the black population, had resulted in the surging of the black protest movements that had brought about the Jim Crow case under the case of national scrutiny.

Would you like to read more about this topic? This book might interest you: History of Civil Rights Movement in USA.