The African Presence and Survival In America, A Story of Interest To All

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The African presence and survival in America, a story of interest to all
African Americans have a long, eventful history and a rich culture that fascinates not only themselves but others as well. African American history is often tragic but has also shown persistent survival against all odds and even at times triumph. The story of African Americans has involved much difficulty and struggle but yet much overcoming, endurance and accomplishment. Africans and their descendants have helped to build America in many ways: work, culture, inventions, military service, social reform, politics, art, music, sports and cooking are a few examples. Their many contributions - though never adequately recognized or given credit - made America successful and powerful. African American labor, for example, made America rich and a commercial leader in the world economy. Furthermore, African American music, entertainment and cultural style became globally imitated and sought after.

U S slavery African American culture African American inventions African American military service African American social reform African American capital men African American sports

Remarkably, though they themselves have experienced the depths of oppression and slavery, African Americans are global liberators of many people and cultures in the far corners of the earth. This is because the 19th century anti-slavery struggle and the Black Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and 70s have been the role models for many other liberation movements that have helped people all over the world. African Americans have given far more to America than they have ever received or been paid for and despite their problems they continue to be a source of strength and solutions for the country and the world.

The group survival of Africans wherever they are is a tribute to their inherent strength as a race and a culture and is one of the great phenomena of nature. Despite many negative forces against them over the centuries (slavery, oppression, being seen as inferior, destruction of original cultures and economic exploitation) African people all over the world have somehow survived as a group and have not been physically exterminated like many other conquered peoples in world history. Though many individuals have died or suffered tragic, oppressed lives and loss of all they had, the impact of Africans as a group is great and they continue to live and grow despite many adversities. Not only have they not been wiped out, they also have been shown to mix well (genetically and culturally) with other peoples, producing quite viable and vigorous mixed offspring who also thrive, increase and achieve.

There are any number of explanations for this survival strength, depending on who is explaining. Some might say that people of African descent have been economically useful to others and thus were kept alive to serve an economic purpose. Some might say that they were physically hardy and strong and genetically selected for physical survival by the rigors of slavery and the middle passage. Other factors might be pointed out also. However, many people of African descent themselves might say- when they are speaking privately and freely - that their continued survival has to do with an innate, intangible spiritual strength and a connection to invisible forces that cannot be perceived or explained in mere economic, political or physical terms.

Africans have always had a great respect for religion and spiritual matters. Even though the various types of religion practiced have taken widely different forms, the innate impact and existence of the spiritual is a very important though intangible force in all African-derived societies. Whether traditional original tribal religions, Christianity, Islam or some other form of religious expression, much of what has happened to Blacks is related (in their own minds) with religion and a world beyond what can be immediately seen (but that they themselves know and feel in very powerful ways). It is thus interesting to note that many of the slave revolts (in the US, Haiti and Brazil) and much of the Black American civil rights movement were inspired by religious feeling of some kind mixed with racial advancement aims and led by religious figures. Whatever the reasons, despite the loss of homeland, freedom, possessions and culture, in the long run, Africans as a group have survived and overcome forces that have destroyed many other peoples.

For one reason or another, the experiences and contributions of African Americans are now on many people's minds. The history, activities and culture of African Americans - long ignored, distorted or misinterpreted - is of great interest worldwide. Not only African Americans themselves, but many others (even those unused to or uncomfortable with actual living African Americans) are affected by their culture and interested in some aspect of their experience. What African Americans have said, done, produced and been through is now the focus of much worldwide fascination. An increasing number of people want to know about it, see it, hear about it, read about it or argue about it. In addition, many now want to collect (i.e. own and accumulate) the tangible evidence of the African American experience).

Why are people (and not just the obvious ones) interested in African American history? The reasons, though hard to explain at first, make much sense when thought about. First of all African Americans are interesting and always have been. They arouse many emotions (of one kind or another), have been through a lot, survived a lot and done a lot that makes people feel something. Love them or hate them, they are not a bland, boring people. Even when it is sad, tragic and angering, theirs is not a history or culture which leaves one with little or no reaction. Secondly, Black Americans are creative and have had to make do for a long time with very little except what they could salvage within themselves from Africa - their music, their dance, their religion, their soulfulness and their sense of relationship to a higher level. Third, the African American story has not been told well or accurately over the years and most people are just now becoming aware of the true nature and dimensions of the African American experience. Each newly uncovered chapter in that history brings more discovery and fascination to a formerly unknowing world that increasingly recognizes that it needs to know more. People (all types of people, not just persons of African descent) can learn and benefit greatly from African American history, just as they have benefited from African American labor and culture over the years. Fourth, African Americans enable others to feel good, even when African Americans themselves do not feel good. Their cultural strengths include much joy in the face of adversity and emotional insight into the human condition. Most importantly, their capacity to achieve and express psycho-spiritual exaltation is a precious inheritance that many others have always been eager to share.

The African American history field is rapidly expanding and diversifying. New themes and issues constantly expand, redefine and vary our understanding of what African American history is and what it means for everyone, not just African Americans. Even famous chapters in African American history (such as the Harlem Renaissance) deserve to be revisited and re-explored so that what was once seen in a limited way can now become better known as a larger, more interesting, more complex and fascinating story and thus more valuable to the world.

Pre-abolition, 1619-1863
People of African descent were in North America long before many others (except of course Native Americans) and long before America became the country we know today as the United States. The story of the African presence in the western hemisphere starts with a few individuals who were in the New World from the beginning. The earliest African-descended persons generally thought to have set foot in North America were sailors accompanying Columbus.

In 1514 The Spanish priest de Las Casas opposed the enslavement of Native Americans and suggests that Africans be used instead (to spare the Native Americans from being exterminated). In 1518 the first cargo of African slaves came to the West Indies from Africa.

In 1526-27 a Spanish explorer brought Black slaves to the coast of Carolina. Except for those who sailed with Columbus, these were the first known group of Africans to come into what is now the United States. These Africans later escaped and joined the Native Americans in the interior.

In 1527, Estevan, a Spanish speaking African who was shipwrecked in America, traveled throughout the southeast and south west meeting the native peoples and learning their language and culture. Because of his knowledge, he was very instrumental in helping to save other Spanish explorers who got lost, attacked by Native Americans and nearly starved to death.

Anthony Johnson, the first recorded English-speaking person of African descent is shown in the records of the English colony at Jamestown in Virginia as a free man in the early 17th century.

Later many, many Africans were brought to the New World in great numbers involuntarily as slaves. They were forced to work in agriculture (sugar, tobacco, cotton, rice, etc.) and contributed much to New World's economy and culture.

The first three centuries of the African American story is very much related to the evils and terrible sufferings of captivity and enslavement. Most earlier African Americans were subject to some type of slave regime. Many millions of captured Africans were brought against their will to work relentlessly without freedom or reward for the economic benefit of others in the Americas and the Caribbean. Some (a small percentage) were free or able to secure their freedom but many more were brutally and oppressively enslaved. Many years later, their ability to endure and survive saw them rise out of slavery and develop and achieve as a people.

The African slave trade started before Europeans arrived in the Western Hemisphere. The first beginnings of slavery were the relatively small numbers of slaves brought from Africa to Portugal and Spain. In 1442 for example a Portuguese sea captain under King Henry the Navigator captured 2 or 3 Moors of noble birth who offered to pay for their freedom with 10 male and female Africans. The Portuguese accepted the 10 Blacks as a ransom payment and these first 10 were sold in the market in Lisbon. The Portuguese, acting under a papal grant, monopolized the slave trade until 1517.

In the four centuries between 1450 and the late 1860s slavery was systematically practiced by many of the western European nations who profited greatly by the cruel trade in buying, selling and using Africans for work in the western Hemisphere. The major reason for slavery was the fact that European nations could enrich themselves from crops, gold, silver and other New World products.

At first, Europeans tried to use the original inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere (the Native Americans in North and South America) for slave laborers. However, the Native Americans tended to consistently die rapidly from diseases brought from Europe and what can be described as genocide-induced heartbreak. Great numbers of them were wiped out within a few years of European arrival. Africans however were hardier and could survive the hardships of contact with Europeans and their diseases as well as the horrors of slavery. Thus, European countries started to import African slaves into the New World and became very rich by doing so. Later, the slave trade grew to enormous proportions in the New World because of the demand for workers in plantation agriculture and other fields (such as the mines of South America).

The Spanish and Portuguese were the first major commercial participants in the New World slave trade which spread rapidly to other European countries. Slavery later became a profitable, widespread system heavily influenced by the Dutch, the English and later Americans. Slavery in the English speaking America began when the captain of a passing Dutch ship sold 20 or more slaves to the English colony at Jamestown in 1619. In its first two centuries in the United States, slavery existed in the north as well as the south.

It is estimated that between 10 and 20 million Africans were captured, enslaved and brought to the western Hemisphere for sale by various European nations (mostly the Dutch, Spanish, English, French and Portuguese). The majority of the slaves went to the Caribbean and South America. Only a few (4-7%) ended up in what is now the United States. Those that were taken to North America however have - through their descendants - had, over the course of time, an impact on the world far greater than their original importation numbers would indicate.

Not all African Americans were slaves. Throughout the slavery period there were a minority of free Blacks in the U.S. in both the North and the south. Some estimates conclude that about 10% of all Blacks were free (a number which varies with time and place). A few were always free, some became free by buying their freedom through hard work, some (e.g. children or favorites of the slave owner) were freed (i.e. manumitted) by slave holders and some ran away from slavery and remained free after that. Despite being legally free however, free Blacks were not treated as equals and were heavily discriminated against. Thus, though they were technically free, they faced the same barriers of racism and discrimination that slaves did. Sometimes they were even illegally captured and sold into slavery.

Many African American slaves were of mixed European and African blood since slave owners often forced slave women to yield to them. Many other Africans intermarried with Native Americans (whom they encountered when they ran away or who were sometimes enslaved with them). To this day it is estimated that 90% of all African Americans have European or Native American ancestors or both.

Slavery and the slave trade changed the course of history and affected the whole world (not just enslaved Africans) in many ways that are still being strongly felt today. As a result of slavery, the entire population of the North and South America changed to include many people of African descent. Certain European countries (e.g. Spain and England) became rich and powerful enough to change the balance of power in Europe. Many other changes occurred in numerous ways (economics, religion, food, music, clothing, shipping, etc.). Thus the slaves - despite or because of their oppression and the price they paid - had an impact on the world that is still occurring.

In America, slavery made many people (North and South) rich and successful but later it became the major problem of American politics and society. Because of slavery, many political and economic arguments arose and a major internal war (the civil war) was fought. Even in their oppression, the slaves made a difference and their descendants continue to make a difference today.

The number of African Americans in the U.S. grew steadily all throughout the slavery period. The number of slaves in the United states increased from 698,000 in 1790 to 3.95 million in 1860 and over the decades about 92% lived in the south until 1900.

In 1840 the African American population in America was approximately 2.87 million (about 16.8% of the total number of Americans). About 5% of those in the south (where most Blacks lived) were free, the rest were slaves.
In 1850 there were 3.6 million African Americans in the United States (15.7% of the 23.2 million people in the country). About 88% were slaves and about 1 in 8 Blacks were free.
By 1860, the total Black population in the U.S. had grown to 4.44 million, most in the south and most (about 89% or 3.95 million) were slaves.

Africans in early New York: The Dutch and New Amsterdam
Africans have been in New York almost from the very beginning. The Dutch, who had settled New York State from a very early time had slaves who helped to make them prosperous. The 17th century Dutch colony known as New Amsterdam had a tremendous labor shortage since there was much to do and few people to do it. Importing slaves became one of the favorite solutions to their labor problem used by the Dutch West India Company. Without slaves to do the work of agriculture, building public works and fight Native Americans, early New York would probably not have survived or thrived as a viable colony.

The Black presence started in New York State about 1624 when the Dutch imported slaves from Angola and Brazil to work in upstate Hudson Valley farms. In 1626 a Dutch ship brought 11 African men (who were probably captured slaves) to New York City (then known as New Amsterdam) as seamen. Two years later, 3 African women were sold as slaves in the new city. The Dutch West India Company recognized slavery in their New York colony as early as 1626 and profited from it by importing slaves. Most Africans belonged to the Dutch West Indies Company rather than individuals slaveholders and were known as "the company's Negroes". These Africans were under the control of an official known as the "Keeper Of The Negroes".

In 1646 the first slave ship to arrive in New York carried slaves from the West Indies island of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles. Slavery was practiced and remained legal (despite the presence of a few free Blacks) for some 200 years after that (until it was abolished in stages in the first three decades of the 19th century).

Getting more slaves was a constant preoccupation of the Dutch and later the English. There was a continuous shortage of and demand for slaves since there was so much work and so few laborers. Governor Peter Stuyvesant used his connections in Curacao (where he was once stationed) to secure for himself 40 slaves, making him the largest private slave holder in New Amsterdam.

At first many Dutch slaves could work their way out of slavery and were treated a slight bit better than those in the English colonies. The Dutch instituted a system called "Half-freedom" in which a slave had some degree of freedom but was still a slave for most purposes. Later this changed and life became harder for people of African descent.

Several interesting events happened to African Americans under the Dutch, some of which are first time events in recorded African American history:

The small amount of information that exists about the first African slaves in new Amsterdam is their last names which all relate to the Congo, Angola and the Portuguese (probably an indication of where they might have originated and who originally captured them).

In 1634, Dutch patroons (large landowners) were each given 12 Black men and women out of those captured from other European ships carrying slaves as a prize of commercial war 18 years after the first arrival of Africans in New Amsterdam, 11 of them petitioned the company for their freedom. In that year (1644) an act was passed manumitting these 11 African slaves because of long and faithful service to the company. To pay for their freedom they were required to give the company 22 ½ bushels of corn or other crops and a hog valued at 8 dollars or be returned to slavery. These Africans were given land far outside the boundaries of the existing colony in a swamp known today as Greenwich Village and Washington Square (an area which remained a Negro neighborhood for many years). Emancipating the parents did not automatically emancipate their children and special, prolonged effort (whose outcome is uncertain) was necessary to get the children freed as well as the parents

Most Africans in new Netherlands were brought from and "seasoned" (i.e. forced to accommodate themselves to slavery and European customs) in the island of Curacao. The Dutch had a colony and a plantation system in Curacao that used and produced many slaves. Curacao became important in the fate of early African Americans since the Dutch in new Amsterdam much preferred slaves who had been seasoned there to those directly imported from Africa (mostly Angola). Slaves who had not had their will broken through seasoning were distrusted as "proud and treacherous".

As a kind of subsidy and to keep the cost of valuable slaves down, the Dutch West India Company sold slaves to Dutch New Yorkers at a 10% discount below international rates and allowed them to exchange unsatisfactory slaves for company slaves

In the 1640s, slaves from the West Indies sold for about 300 guilders while those directly from Africa sold for much less. A free worker by contrast earned about 280 guilders a year plus food and lodging. Since slaves (who were owned for a lifetime) were a one-time expense while free workers were a yearly expense and had to be freed after a time, slavery was clearly a very good economic bargain and a sound investment for slaveholders.

Sometimes, Blacks were armed and used to fight native Americans who were a threat to the Dutch. Arming slaves was then considered a daring practice (given the risk of slave revolt) but the Dutch felt forced to do it. Peter Stuyvesant, then the governor of New Amsterdam wrote to Curacao in 1660 to send "clever and strong" Africans to "pursue the Indians".

After 1640 agriculture expanded and began to replace the fur trade as the major industry of the New Netherlands. The presence and hard work of African slaves thus was directly responsible for the success of agriculture and the expansion of the economy (especially in the Hudson valley) where uncultivated land required much labor. Slaves also provided much of the labor for public works in the City (to build buildings, roads and walls, dig canals and perform numerous domestic chores).

In 1641 one of six slaves was killed by another whose identity could not be determined. To prevent themselves from being tortured to find out the individual culprit, all five of the Black suspects declared they had done the deed. The Dutch magistrates then decided to force the slaves to draw lots to let God determine who was guilty. A large man named Manuel De Gerritt (called the Giant") was thus unluckily selected to be hanged. Pieter, the city's Negro executioner, tried to hang him but miraculously two strong ropes around the intended victim's neck broke and his body fell to the ground unharmed. The bystanders them clamored for his pardon and he was released on a promise of good conduct. He later became one of the first 11 to be manumitted in 1644.

Also in1641, the first recorded marriage between Africans took place when Anthony Angola married Lucy d'Angola
In 1661 the first recorded adoption took place when an African American couple, Emanuel Pietersen and his wife Dorothy Angola, adopted an infant who they reared and educated (paying 300 guilders for the boy's freedom).

Africans were very involved in celebrations and music in New Amsterdam. They sometimes made homemade instruments from old eel pots covered with sheepskin and beat out African rhythms with their bare hands. One very old slave named Charley who was said to be 125 years old was a well-known drummer and led the dancing of both Blacks and Whites.

In addition to music and dance, some Blacks were thought to have a mysterious ability to predict the weather, an important skill in a farming community. Some were also said to be good traders, whistlers (hereby controlling draft animals and communicating). Some also seemed to show mathematical expertise by using their fingers to count and calculate.

In 1643 Domingo Antony appeared in the historical records as the earliest African descended landowner in New York City.

Around 1660, one Lucas Santomee, a free Black and son of an ex-slave was well known in the Dutch colony as a physician.

Dutch slavery had some historical impact on African Americans in general and left a few cultural survivals. The Pinkster holiday, largely observed in upstate New York where the Dutch settled, took on a strongly festive flavor among Dutch-influenced African Americans over time. In 19th century downstate Brooklyn, African American dancing, cooking and merrymaking reflected the presence of upstate Blacks from former Dutch areas celebrating the Pinkster (i.e. Pentecost) tradition.

When the English took over New York from the Dutch in 1664, there were 600 formerly Dutch slaves in New York City and State.
In 1700 there were about 3,600 slaves in a regional population of 53,000 in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. In 1710 there were 44,866 slaves in British North America, (36,563 of them in the South). By the time of the American Revolution (1776) the slave population in this region had increased about tenfold to about 35,000.

Ironically, the enslavement of Blacks by the Dutch played a key though unexpected, unintended role in the loss of New Amsterdam by the Dutch to the English. Though Dutch Governor Stuyvesant did not want to surrender to the English when they appeared tin ships to take over New Amsterdam, he later wrote that he was eventually forced to yield to the English because of lack of food to hold out. He explained to the company's directors in Holland that he was forced to surrender to the English because 300 African slaves had arrived in the colony just before the English and had eaten up all the surplus food. Due to the need to feed these newly arrived Africans, the Dutch colony did not have enough food to withstand a long siege and the English were thus able to conquer New Amsterdam.

As the Dutch period ended, slavery under the English increased and the trafficking in slaves (as distinct from their use for labor) became a bigger business. Certain places in the City became known as slave buying locations and many tricks and complexities had to be mastered by those who bought and sold slaves in the newly Anglicized city.

Slave resistance, revolts and the fears of slavery supporters
The slaves did not always merely accept their fate and in many ways (e.g. through religion, song and dance) they resisted or tried to counteract the harsh oppression they were subjected to. Throughout the slavery period there were slave revolts and slave resistance. Sometimes, the slaves actually revolted and fought the slavery system in physical confrontation to the point of death. One of the most famous slave revolt was that of Nat Turner in Virginia in 1831 but there were significant others (before and after Turner). In a few places outside the United States some slaves were able to escape and set up separate societies beyond the control of slave owners.

Outright slave revolts (especially in North America) were relatively rare but various forms of slave resistance (sometimes subtle) were common. Slave resistance took the form of running away, using special language, gaining mental privacy and independence by gathering to sing and dance, taking food and supplies, surreptitiously helping those who were to be punished, destroying slave owner property that symbolized oppression, mental escape through religion, slowing down oppressive work rules, etc.

There was always a fear among slave owners and their supporters that the slaves would rise up and strike back at their oppressors. Thus, the various slavery regimes gave much thought and energy to ways to keep slaves oppressed, obedient and hard working. The fear of slave revolt and uprising led to many laws and practices intended to keep slaves from feeling strong, organizing, resisting or knowing enough to overcome their oppressors. Multiple, relentless efforts were made to make slaves feel inferior, afraid of their slave masters and accept the idea that they deserved their slave status. In many places slaves were constantly intimidated, forbidden from gathering together, being educated, learning how to read and write, owning anything, speaking their own original language, being with people from their own original cultural group, having legitimate families, communicating or knowing anything of the world,

Certain types of slaves - those likely to be independent thinkers or from proudly independent places or tribes - were regarded with special suspicion. Slave owners and supporters of slavery especially feared and attempted to suppress slaves who were religious leaders, practitioners of voodoo (African mystical powers were greatly feared), good speakers (i.e. able to mobilize the others), those able to read and write and those who had traveled in the world.

In early New York City there was a great fear of slave uprising (one of which occurred in 1712) and a major incident of slave revolt paranoia (the Negro Plot of 1741) led to many Black deaths and much repression when Backs were blamed for mysterious fires. Most of the fears that led to this outbreak of officially sanctioned repression were obviously related to the projection of blame due to the fear that Blacks would rise up and do to a slave owning society what had in fact been systematically done to them.

Over the years, African American life in New York City has not been easy. Incidents of racial oppression and anti-Black violence have happened in New York City over the years. During the civil war, for example, an incident of grossly unfair racial destructiveness (the New York Draft Riots of 1863) occurred when many Whites refused to serve in the Union Army and attacked helpless Blacks (who were not protected by the police) as the cause of their having to provide military service.

Civil war and abolition, 1861-1865
Slavery was a problem for America since the very beginning of the founding of the country. At the time America became an independent country, some wanted to end slavery and others wanted to continue it because they made much profit from it and their social position depended on having many people they could feel superior to.

The U.S. Constitution - the guiding document that describes how the country is to be run - allowed some states to be free (i.e. without slavery) and some states to retain slavery. Several laws had been passed that made slavery legal in various states (in the south and the border states) even if it was not legal in others (i.e. in the north). The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 strengthened an earlier law of 1793 that made it legal for slave owners to get runaway slaves and workers back.

In the North, slavery was legal for a time but slowly died out as the economic reasons for it declined. New York abolished slavery gradually over a 20 or 30 year period but there were slaves in New York State until the very end of this period (1827).

In the pre-industrial agricultural South, however, slavery was highly profitable and plantation slave owners (who were the leaders of southern society) fought to keep slavery from ending. Much tension between the slave and free states existed and slaves many times tried to escape and find their way to the north, Canada and freedom.

All throughout the early part of the 1800s, many people in the north (and some in the south) more and more opposed slavery. The desire to abolish slavery became known as the abolition movement which became stronger and stronger, especially in New York, Massachusetts and New England. As opposition to slavery grew stronger and became organized, various anti-slavery organizations were formed.

Several very important fighters against slavery were African Americans and their names are forever honored in history for their work for freedom. The most famous of these is Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave himself, who was a tireless, brilliant thinker, orator and political agitator against slavery. There were also several very important women who risked their lives to fight against slavery: Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth bravely led escaped slaves to freedom and served as anti-slavery advocates, strategists and informants.

Sojourner Truth, born about 1775 (estimates vary) in Africa, was brought to America as a child and sold as a slave in upstate New York. She was a slave on the farm of a rich Dutch landowner where she worked very hard at many tasks usually thought to be too difficult for a woman. She had five children (4 grew past infancy) and ran away in 1826 (the year before New York abolished slavery) carrying her infant daughter. She made a living as a domestic servant in New York City and was never oppressed again. She gave many important speeches against slavery and oppression of Blacks before, during and after the civil war. She was 6 feet tall, black-skinned, physically strong, brave and lived to a very old age. She was also a very religious mystic who preached against sinfulness (especially slavery). She also was a fighter for women's rights. Interestingly, she spoke in a heavy Dutch accent but her words always struck her audience as true and powerful.

In the first half of the 19th century, more and more Blacks were trying to escape slavery by running away from their slave owners and travelling secretly to the north. Since slavery was still legal and slaves were considered property, slave owners could legally hunt for their escaped slaves and seek to get their slaves back by several means. They could offer a money reward for runaway information, ask the local authorities to search for and arrest runaway slaves or send bounty hunters to find, imprison and return them to slavery (where they faced certain and cruel punishment for trying to get to freedom).

Many people in the north helped escaped slaves to hide, get food and rest and keep travelling toward freedom further north and in Canada. The secret network of people and places that helped slaves escape was called "The Underground Railroad" which included many kind-hearted people who hated slavery and helped slaves avoid recapture and return to the south. Today, the Underground Railroad is a celebrated chapter in the history of the fight against slavery and is being frequently commemorated in ceremonies and historic sites.

Slavery in the United States was essentially ended by the Civil War - a vast and destructive war with far-reaching consequences between the U.S. government (supported by the non-slave holding northern and western states) and a confederacy of rebellious southern states (which fought to preserve slavery).

The civil war began in 1861 when the southern states decided to secede (i.e. leave) the United States. The starting incident in the civil war was an April, 12, 1861 attack by pro-slavery forces on a major symbolic federal (i.e. U.S. government) location, Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. The civil war lasted four years (1861-65), was mostly fought in the south and involved great destruction. Many African Americans fought in the civil war and several incidents showed them to be good and brave soldiers.

The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, issued by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, effectively abolished slavery in the United States after many years. It was not an easy accomplishment. In the same year, African American participation in the Civil War increased dramatically and they helped (as soldiers, laborers, agents, etc.) win the war for the Union (the U.S. government) and themselves.

From the inception of the United States of American many of the founding father's were opposed to the institution of slavery on moral grounds, such as Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Paine, John Quincy Adams and Benjamin Rush.

Religious organizations like The Society of Friends founded by the Quakers, were actively campaigning for the abolition of slavery and had effectively forced emancipation on a gradual basis in all the northern states by 1804. In the western states legislation to prohibit expansion of slavery was enacted in 1820.

Yet efforts to end slavery in the southern states were ineffective due to the substantial economic dependency on slave labor in the south.

From 1790-1830, the southern state's abolitionist movement led by Benjamin Lundy, carried-out a passive and gradual change philosophy. This was replaced by more radical and violent abolitionist movements beginning in the 1830's, led by both black and white leaders, such as; William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Angelina Grimké, Wendall Phillips and Theodore Weld.

These leaders established the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, and by 1835 they created a network of state and local societies who were very active and conducted massive petitions to the U.S. and State legislatures.

One segment of this society formed the Liberty Party and ran abolitionist presidential candidates in the 1840 and 1844 elections. Although they lost, reorganization of the party eventually resulted in formation of the Republican Party.

In 1816, the American Colonization Society was founded with the intention to resettle freed slaves back to Africa. They established a colony in Liberia in 1822.

Many in the abolitionist movement regarded this organization as racist, with the goal to remove a threat of freed slaves from American soil, rather than deal with freed slaves within American society.

After the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1850 were enacted, more violent clashes increased, with one famous example being that of James Brown who murdered five pro-slavery men Kansas, then in 1859 seized the port of Harper's Ferry. These clashes became a prominent foreshadowing to the development of the U.S. Civil War. When Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, this was refuted by the southern states, and the Civil War expanded.

The southern Confederate States lost the Civil War, however, even after the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in 1865, there were still severe inequalities for freed slaves.

From the inception of the United States of America, numerous slavery abolition movements were active. They had forced emancipation in the northern states by 1804 and prohibited expansion of slavery into the western states by 1820. Yet the southern states refused to abandon slavery.

The American Anti-Slavery Society, established in 1833, ran abolitionist presidential candidates in both the 1840 and 1844 elections. Although their party lost the elections, it was later reorganized into the Republican Party.

From the 1830's to 1850's the abolitionists became more violent and the southern leaders more entrenched. The result was the U.S. Civil War and eventual surrender of the south. In 1863, president Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and in 1865 the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery.

The period immediately after the civil war is known as "Reconstruction" (i.e. a term suggesting the rebuilding the country after the ruin of the civil war). Reconstruction is generally considered to extend between 1865 (when the civil war ended) to 1877. During reconstruction African Americans made great political progress, gaining the right to vote and becoming governors, senators and judges. This period did not last however, since racism and political deals restored anti-Black forces to power.
In 1870, there were more than 4.8 million Blacks in the U.S. who made up 12.7% of the country. Most Blacks were living in the rural south though a few were beginning to move to cities. At this time, shortly after the civil war, only about 20% of the African American population could read and write.

During reconstruction, many African Americans moved around the country and started to move north and west. Some were searching for family members who had been sold or lost in the slavery period, some were escaping the fighting or joining the army so that they could fight against slavery, some were searching for economic opportunity and some wanted to get away from the places where they had been oppressed as slaves.

Reconstruction was a time when many important African American institutions - churches, colleges, businesses and organizations - were established. Between 1870 and 1880, 23 Black colleges were founded (even though few Blacks could afford to attend them).
Many of these organizations, businesses and institutions are no longer in existence but some are still proudly functioning today. Reconstruction also saw many African Americans becoming owners of farms and property (especially in the south). Some also went out to the new western states and established independent towns and places where they could be freer.

Post reconstruction and anti-black backlash
Reconstruction in the south was undermined by the withdrawal of federal troops and anti-Black legislation. Reconstruction's end also saw an anti-Black backlash and the rise of organized terror by the enemies of African Americans. In 1865, the Ku Klux Klan (a violent, anti-Black organization) was formed to force Blacks to give up their new rights (e.g. voting) and live in a state of fear, oppression and submission. The Klan worked with corrupt public officials and for decades was very successful in certain places in reversing Black post slavery gains.

After reconstruction and even for decades after World War I African Americans experienced a period of great discrimination and hardship. During this time southern states passed laws that prohibited Blacks from voting and instituted segregation in all areas of life. Several southern states passed laws that established a system of forced agricultural labor contracts and prevented Blacks from moving away to other places in order to keep them working for low wages on southern farms. Thus a system of share cropping (which resembling slavery or serfdom) was established in many places.

Still, African Americans served the country well and African Americans fought with distinction in the Spanish American War and in other ways (e.g. as workers, builders and inventors). There were many attempts to improve the lot of African Americas through organizations, conventions and business development. Despite vicious racism, and also because of it, there was some progress among African Americans. African American banks, newspapers, fraternities, businesses, colleges and racial advancement organizations (the NAACP and the Urban League) were started.

Lynching & anti-lynching
Lynching (torture and murder usually through hanging) was very common in places where Black rights were denied and was used to prevent Blacks from voting, expressing their opinions, leaving oppressive work situations or holding property. Between 1882 and 1964, Tuskeegee Institute (a Black college which did much research) reported that 4,742 Blacks were lynched.

A strong reaction to lynching began among brave Blacks who protested, wrote, spoke and worked hard to end lynching (considered then the most grave threat to Black well being). The NAACP (which started in New York City in 1910) worked against lynching. W.E.B. DuBois (one of the founders and chief activists of the NAACP) and Ida B. Wells (a crusading journalist) are among the many key figures who worked to stop lynching and oppression.

Urbanization and migration
Between 1900 and 1920 many African Americans moved from the south to northern cities, a population movement called "The Great Migration". Not only did they move to the north, they moved especially to the cities (e.g. Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C.). There were both "push" factors (which drove people away from the ways places they have been living) and "pull" factors (which drew them toward new opportunities, places and new lifestyles).

The continuing tide of racial oppression (lynching, land stealing, etc.) occurring in the south in the years between 1877 and 1920 was a very big push factor. A vicious system of tenant farming and low wage jobs exploited Black farm laborers and caused them to want to escape to jobs in the north. The tediousness, lack of opportunity and boredom of life in the rural south contrasted with the excitement and opportunity of life in big cities for younger people and those whose talents were wasted in the south. At certain times, "pull" factors such as economic growth, labor shortages, etc. created industrial and other jobs in the North that needed to be filled. Agents of northern companies and industries would come to the south to recruit Black farm laborers. In New York and other big cities, African Americans found that they had more freedom, more economic opportunity, more excitement and thus more reason to leave the south.

In 1900 there were 8.8 million Blacks in the U.S., all but 900,000 living in the south. Then Blacks made up 11.6% of the U.S. population of 76 million people. The cities with the largest Black populations (50,000 or more) included Washington D.C., New Orleans, Baltimore and Philadelphia. New York was the fifth largest city in terms of Black population with about 60,700 Blacks.

In 1920, most African Americans still lived in the south but not for long. About ¼ of the total population of the south was African American but during the 1920s, almost 750,000 Blacks moved north. Immigrants from the Caribbean seeking economic opportunity also swelled the Black population of New York City and contributed much to its culture and energy. Between 1910 and 1920, New York's Black population increased 66.3% (from over 60,000 to over 152,000). In other cites the increase was larger (e.g. Chicago) or nearly as large (Philadelphia).
World War I
War changes many things (boundaries, politics, economics, technology, etc.) and most of all it changes people. World War I (1914-1917) changed Black Americans too by changing the way they saw themselves and how they wanted to be seen and live. This change anticipated a much later, larger change in identity and public stature that occurred in the Civil Rights era of the 1960s.

Service in the war which required many Black soldiers to leave the rural south, go abroad and see the world. Several hundred thousand Blacks (estimates vary) served in the war in Europe and about 1,300 were allowed to be officers (less than 1% percent of the total). Their military service enabled them to leave the southern farms where many lived. After coming home from the war, they were bitterly disappointed to find out that despite having fought and died for the country they were still subject to the racism and discrimination they faced before they left.

However, seeing the world and hearing much publicity about "making the world safe for democracy" changed their thinking and they now wanted more out of life and more out of the country. The role of women too was changed to some extent by the war since they were needed outside the home. Rising experiences and rising expectations led to movement and helped create the conditions for the New Negro period and the Harlem Renaissance. The war increased African Americans' knowledge of the world, impatience with discrimination and desire to escape rural poverty and oppression. It therefore speeded up migration and Blacks began to pour into northern cities seeking more opportunity.

World War II & The beginnings of integration
World War II (1941-45) also changed the world and Black America in many ways. Many Blacks fought in World War II: More than 701,000 served in the army; 165,000 served in the navy, 5000 served in the Coast Guard; 17,000 served in the Marines and 4,000 women served in the WAVES and WACS.

The war lead to a demand for integration in the military forces and finally in July, 1948 (after the war had ended) President Truman issued an executive order officially integrating the military services. Integration of the military (which started in small, slow ways during the war) was important since once the armed forces were integrated, it became obvious that the rest of the country back home should be integrated also. The war also produced benefits like the G.I. Bill which helped pay for soldiers (including Blacks) to go to college and other benefits helped ex-soldiers buy homes. After the war the pace of integration and Black progress quickened:

In 1940 there were 23,000 Blacks attending colleges and in 1950 there were 113,735 getting a college education (mostly at historically Black colleges).
Integration proceeded slowly but steadily in education, sports and other areas
Blacks in literature and theater got major awards
Jackie Robinson broke into professional baseball in New York City

A major Supreme Court decision started the trend toward complete integration of the public schools and the civil rights movement. Later, major integration efforts began in the south and spread to all aspects of the nation's functioning.

Civil rights and the 1960s and 70s
The civil rights period (1954 to the 1970s) peaked in the 1960s and was among the most important times ever in the history of African Americans and the world. African Americans and their allies confronted long-standing oppression, injustices and prejudices that had weighed down African Americans since their arrival in the country. It started as a movement for integration and became a total liberation and identity movement. Using non-violent techniques, Martin Luther King, its most important leader, led the civil rights movement in the south and though later martyred, he became the major figure in the struggle for equality all over the world. In the 1960s the US Congress passed the voting and civil rights acts and other legislation which insured Black civil rights. There was still much to be done in economics however since many Blacks were low income and under-educated.

Many key advances in the situation of African Americans occurred in the 1960s Civil Rights period. They began to be admitted to schools, colleges and public accommodations formerly closed to them. They began to occupy high public office and actively participate in many aspects of American society from which they had long been excluded by segregation and discrimination. Their image of themselves changed as they began to regard themselves and their culture as worthwhile and attractive. Many aspects of African American culture and styles (e.g. in speech) became fashionable and widely imitated. Rejecting the ancient need to look like Europeans physically, younger and more culturally activist African Americans started to accept and be proud of their physical features. Thus, the phrase "Black Is Beautiful" arose and captured the minds of many. The image of African Americans among others and their treatment by mainstream American society changed too. Assumptions of inferiority were challenged and for the first time in American history it became illegal (at least publicly) to discriminate against Blacks.

The lives and work of three important African Americans during the early and mid civil rights period are particularly instructive:

MARTIN LUTHER KING (1929-1968) was the most prominent and widely effective of all 20th century African American social and political leaders. He arose as a leader against segregation and racial injustice in the south and became recognized nationally and internationally as an articulate non-violent social justice activist. His accomplishments are too numerous and his impact too far reaching to recount in a few sentences. He was the single most important American civil rights leader of the 20th century and he is the person to whom most African Americans attribute their greatest post-slavery progress as a race. His speeches, tactics and insights moved Black America and the world toward justice that had been long denied. He refined the use of non-violent social protest and grass roots organizing and his oratorical gifts and ability to see the larger picture in social protest situation is legendary. He was the second African American (after Ralph Bunche) to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (in 1964). He was assassinated in 1968, another of the civil rights era murders that have never been publicly solved. His global prestige is enormous and many different types of people all over the world attribute their liberation (in one form or another) to the civil rights movement and tactics he developed.

RALPH BUNCHE (1904-1971) was a scholar, athlete, diplomat and civic leader who symbolized excellence and high-minded public service in 20th century African American history. He was not only important in America but internationally as well. His contributions and activities began long before the civil rights period but continued well into this era. He was the first Nobel Peace Prize winner of African descent (1950) and played a major role in achieving peace in the Middle East after World War II. He earned an A.M. (1928) and a Ph.D. (1934) from Harvard. He was also a scholar and official in other places including Howard University. He is best known for his work in the United Nations and in 1950 he became the first African American to win the Nobel peace prize for his work in resolving Arab-Israeli disputes after World War II. The next year he became an undersecretary of the United Nations. Later, he was also very active in pressing for justice and Black rights in the civil rights period.

MALCOLM X (born Malcolm Little in 1925) was an important New York-based social activist in Black America in the 1960s. He started as a vocal and leading member of the Black Muslims (an Islamic religious movement that advocated Black self-sufficiency, identify and pro-Black separateness). His development as a person and as a leader symbolized for many the struggles of African Americans in general and he has become a highly inspirational cultural, political and religious figure for many. After a difficulty filled early life, he served as an articulate and charismatic chief spokesman for the Black Muslim movement. However, after a visit to Mecca and a number of internal changes, disillusionment with the leader and the restrictive ideology of that movement set in. He then became independent of the Nation Of Islam, changed to orthodox (non-racially separatist) Islam and preached a broader, and to some more globally sophisticated platform of advancement for Black Americans. He never again had a positive relationship with Elijah Muhammed (the leader of the Black Muslim movement) or his supporters. He also was a target of constant surveillance by the FBI who saw him as a dangerous radical. He was assassinated in 1965 while giving a speech at the Audubon ballroom in upper Harlem. His murder has never satisfactorily been solved but his stature and message grew enormously and permanently after his death.

Black power & militancy
As civil rights movement progressed, goals other than integration became important to the more politically active African Americans. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a strong desire for political empowerment and an assertive self-defining identity in all areas of life swept Black America, especially the young. The phrase "Black Power" symbolized their aim to not only integrate but to hold power whether or not they were integrated into the Euro-American mainstream.

There was much disagreement among Blacks as to the desirability of integration vs. separatism but most felt that power, not merely integration, was the most beneficial long term goal, Again however, there was much disagreement as to how to achieve power and what to do with it. Some Black Power advocates preached various forms of militancy and separatism. Older, more established civil rights organizations and leaders were made uncomfortable by this but were forced to re-evaluate their programs and results.

Post civil rights (the 1980s & 90s): The political & economic mainstream vs. the ghetto
During and after the 1970s African Americans made progress in some ways but retrogressed in others. Many educated, talented and lucky people entered the top ranks of American society but the great masses of poor and uneducated people did not gain much. In fields such as politics, music, entertainment, literature, art and to some extent business, major new strides were made. Discrimination was still a problem but now occurred in economics (e.g. getting high paying jobs) rather than in public facilities.

However, drugs, crime and family disintegration (all inter-related) took a heavy toll on the inhabitants of the inner city. By the 1960s and 70s Blacks had become identified with cities and their troubles were often seen as a major urban problem. Many African Americans were ill-prepared to take economic advantage of integration and were left behind in urban ghetto slum conditions or remained in rural poverty. Welfare dependency was the fate of many, a situation which is painfully being addressed now and is highly controversial.

In education, many of the most academically proficient Blacks began to be admitted to top, mainstream schools and more and more graduated not from Black colleges but from predominantly white educational institutions. Successful Blacks now began to move out of the urban ghetto and into the suburbs. Recently, some younger well off Blacks are wanting to socialize more with other Blacks who are not so fortunate. Although ghetto music and lifestyles are associated with many African Americans, others want the economic and social success that education, professionalism and mainstream participation bring.

Though those who were under-educated or burdened by personal or societal problems were not able to achieve what others could, many African Americans still continued to make progress. Currently, public office is more open to some, talented people are entering new fields and a few are rising to the top ranks of corporate America.

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  • lm1b2 2013/02/18 22:41:29
    Interesting to African Americans maybe,i have read a lot of your history sense the end of the Civil war,the US Gov. has spent Billions of dollars,perhaps trillions,and except for a few who made it in sports, the majority have gone no where,there still in the Ghetto looking for more Gov. handouts,and because i speak the truth,you will now call me a Racists,so be it!
  • Latti I... lm1b2 2013/02/18 22:49:35
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    Your false drivel is getting tiresome, and you obviously didn't read the post; take your narrowness somewhere else.
  • Saint Paul the Decider 2013/02/18 15:41:05
    Interesting; I'd Like to Add
    Saint Paul the Decider
  • Susana 2013/02/18 15:37:57
    What would be more interesting Is to present here all the contributions the blacks made before 1620.
    When the African blood began to mix with the caucasian blood then things begin to change for the better for the blacks.
    But what contributions did the blacks make to the world before 1620?
    I would appreciate honest answers
    Without anger.

    and no andar.
  • Latti I... Susana 2013/02/18 15:59:07 (edited)
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    A lot:




    From the great kingdoms of Egypt, Timbuktu, Ancient Moroccan kingdom, Ethiopia etc....The people of Timbuktu knew about the moons eclipses and phases before the Europeans did. Africa was a vibrant place before Colonialism.

    Lastly; Africa has the most diverse DNA/genes, more than any place in the world. So if every continent was wiped out of humans, Africa will still have every phenotype there.
  • Susana Latti I... 2013/02/19 00:33:48
    Thank you for your reply.
    According to scientist Richard Dawkins
    everyone is a distant cousin of Queen Elizabeth
    because of the river of DNA

    And yes in 1 of his books he wrote about
    African Eve.

    I'm a believer in the Genesis account.
  • Richard M. Nixon 2013/02/18 13:44:19
    Interesting; I'd Like to Add
    Richard M. Nixon
    Whoopie Goldberg, while traveling, had to identify herself by national origin (race). She refused to let the folks in charge tick "African-American". She identifies herself as "American". Good on her! Enough of this race crap.

    whoopie goldberg
  • Latti I... Richard... 2013/02/18 14:48:29
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    -_- The post is about the Africans who came here as free men/women and slavery.
  • Richard... Latti I... 2013/02/18 16:53:56
    Richard M. Nixon
    My addition was about an American.

    addition american
  • andrew.micheals.353 2013/02/18 12:52:48 (edited)
    Interesting; I'd Like to Add
    It was a bit long for me isn't the African American contribution to America and the world obvious? Good post though.
  • Latti I... andrew.... 2013/02/18 14:47:03
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
  • Sissy 2013/02/18 12:25:15 (edited)
    Interesting; I'd Like to Add
    Thank you so much for posting this. "Wonderful" seems so inadequate, but I loved reading every word.

    Another riveting side story to this is the struggle Thomas Jefferson had with the "slave issue" when he was penning the Constitution. Although he was a wealthy "owner" himself, (as were a good share of or Founding Fathers), he was troubled by his "All Men Are Created Equal) statement and did make several tepid attempts to address slavery, of course to no avail. The thing with him though, he didn't believe that black people were all that equal and considered their intelligence to be only 3/5ths as good as their masters. At one point when he was figuring out what they could do with them if they should be freed, was to either send them back to Africa or find an Island somewhere, where they could have their own country.
  • Latti I... Sissy 2013/02/18 16:01:18
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
  • Chris- Demon of the PHAET 2013/02/18 04:30:19
    Chris- Demon of the PHAET
    Great post as usual L. :-)
  • Latti I... Chris- ... 2013/02/18 04:38:14
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    Thank you Chris.
  • Big One 0909 2013/02/18 03:56:20
    Interesting; I'd Like to Add
    Big One 0909
    you mean the TRUTH? Or the revisionist version being pushed in schools today?

    And where was the option for people to disagree with you? how will you ever learn anything?
  • Latti I... Big One... 2013/02/18 04:03:52
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    Disagree with me; what was false?
  • Leslie Goudy 2013/02/18 03:36:12
    Leslie Goudy
    That's interesting but could you pare it down to salient points. I am not trying to be rude but I don't have real good concentration. I know how cold the whiter races are compared to the natural compassion the darker ones seem to have.
  • Latti I... Leslie ... 2013/02/18 03:39:39
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    There is compassion and non-compassion in us all Leslie; yeah I could send you a version in black if it is better for you. Sometimes color font comes out unreadable to some.
  • Leslie ... Latti I... 2013/02/18 04:42:54
    Leslie Goudy
    Go ahead and send it to me.
  • Latti I... Leslie ... 2013/02/18 04:48:55
  • Leslie ... Latti I... 2013/02/18 05:55:20
    Leslie Goudy
    That was better. I can articulate now what I meant about compassion. You see, people who do not have trials in life and don't have a hard way to go are unable to develop compassion. At least deep compassion. I sit in church and wonder how people show no emotion when we talk of our Lord dying for us on the cross. You see, most white people feel entitled. I know. I am Native also but I know how they all are tracing their roots back to some aristocrat or other. It's ridiculous. Anyway, I am watching "A Patch of Blue" now. Always very moving.
  • Richard... Leslie ... 2013/02/18 13:36:09
    Richard M. Nixon
    Very true in my experience. I always hung out with folks of color as they are more fun to be with. Better life attitude.

    true experience hung folks color fun life attitude
  • Tuna 2013/02/18 00:21:45
    Interesting; I'd Like to Add
    Do you mean blacks?? I know an African American near me; like to see his picture? ernie els
  • Latti I... Tuna 2013/02/18 00:24:27
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    Of course you didn't read the post, not surprising; the history, which is African Americans from West Africa. I'm not going to explain any further, since you are attempting to derail an educational post.
  • Tuna Latti I... 2013/02/18 00:27:21
    I think youdo a disservice to proud American blacks by calling them Africans; they are Americans. My friends will tell you they are not African.
  • Latti I... Tuna 2013/02/18 00:33:44
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    "The African Presence and Survival In America, A Story of Interest To All"

    Do you even comprehend the question and the post or do you just like to start typing absent of both?

    You do a disservice by coming on a post when it is obvious you don't understand the question. The African presence is of those who did come from West Africa and planted a seed of their rich heritage, spirituality, etc...into the fabric of this nation. If you had read the post before talking, it starts off as African Americans into Black Americans.

    That is why the title of the post is " The African Presence and Survival In America, A Story of Interest To All."
  • Tuna Latti I... 2013/02/18 00:41:05 (edited)
    Most definitely a valuable part of who the USA is; not who Africa is. Go ask your grand mamma if she is African. Black Americans lost that tag long ago.
  • Latti I... Tuna 2013/02/18 00:43:02
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    Sighs; you still don't get it, read the post. The African presence are from the Africans who came here as free men/women and those of slavery. That is the African experience to America.
  • Tuna Latti I... 2013/02/18 00:47:09 (edited)
    I read it but very dissappointed in your use of African Americans. We are all Americans FIRST or else we lose our identity which is happening way too quickly.
  • Latti I... Tuna 2013/02/18 03:05:56
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET

    "Sighs; you still don't get it, read the post. The African presence are from the Africans who came here as free men/women and those of slavery. That is the African experience to America."
  • Chris- ... Latti I... 2013/02/18 04:43:11
  • Latti I... Chris- ... 2013/02/18 04:44:55
  • lurx: t... Tuna 2013/02/18 03:12:26
  • MeiLin lurx: t... 2013/02/18 11:36:31
  • Richard... Latti I... 2013/02/18 13:38:51
    Richard M. Nixon
    He's right; you took it wrong. I had a friend, a white Jew, who ticked African-American on a job application since he was born in Egypt. They gave him hell, but they gave him a job too!

    friend white jew ticked african-american job application born egypt job
  • Latti I... Richard... 2013/02/18 14:45:01
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    Um, the post is about Africans who arrived here as free men/women and slavery. Try reading the post instead of following another willfully ignorant person.
  • Richard... Latti I... 2013/02/18 17:00:43
    Richard M. Nixon
    Oh, I AM sorry! I wasn't sure you wrote the article, and your interpretation is the only valid one. I'm so glad you're proud of your ethnicity; something you had absolutely no choice in. How very nice. I think we all know who's ignorant here, and I mean that in the Southern interpretation, not as a lack of knowledge. So, um, begone!

    valid glad proud ethnicity absolutely choice ignorant southern interpretation begone
  • Latti I... Richard... 2013/02/18 16:02:26 (edited)
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    White people gave him hell, and Tuna is wrong; the post is about Africans who came here as free men and those brought here by slavery.
  • Richard... Tuna 2013/02/18 13:41:02
    Richard M. Nixon
    Well said and done! I was born in California. That makes me a Native-American. That's what an old Chief told me years ago. He said he was one too, but an Indian most of all.

    born california native-american chief told years indian

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