Slavery

Slavery in America stems well back to when the new world was first

discovered and was led by the country to start the African Slave Trade-

Portugal. The African Slave Trade was first exploited for plantations

in that is now called the Caribbean, and eventually reached the southern

coasts of America (Slavery Two; Milton Meltzer). The African natives were

of all ages and sexes. Women usually worked in the homes, cooking and

cleaning, whereas men were sent out into the plantations to farm. Young

girls would usually help in the house also and young boys would help in

the farm by bailing hay and loading wagons with crops.

Since trying to capture the native Indians, the Arawaks and Caribs,

failed (Small-Pox had killed them), the Europeans said out to capture

African slaves.

They were shipped from Africa by the Europeans in what was called

The Triangular Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. This was an organized route

where Europeans would travel to Africa bringing manufactured goods,

capture Africans and take them to the Caribbean, and then take the crops

and goods and bring them back to Europe. The African people, in order to

communicate invented a language that was a mixture of all the African

languages combined, called Creole. This language now varies from island

to island. They also kept their culture which accounts for calypso music

and the instruments used in these songs.

Slavery was common all over the world until 1794 when France signed

the Act of the National Convention abolishing slavery. It would take

America about a hundred years to do the same (Slavery Two; Milton Meltzer).

George Washington was America's hero. He was America's first

president. He was a slave owner. He deplored slavery but did not

release his slaves. His will stated that they would be released after

the death of his wife (The Volume Library; 1988). Washington wasn't

the only president to have slaves. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "All men

are created equal" but died leaving his blacks in slavery.

In 1775 black Americans were sent to fight in the revolutionary

army. The British proposed that if a black man was to join their army,

they would be set free afterwards. America originally planned not to let

the blacks fight in the army, but when hearing this, let them enlist.

Only Georgia and South Carolina refused to let them enlist, but paid for

their racism when each lost 25,000 blacks to the British. The slaves

returned on an honourable discharge after securing America's freedom,

but not their own (Software Toolworks Encyclopedia; 1992).

Slavery continued and so did the numbers of slaves trying to escape

to the free states or into Canada. A runaway slave would be found by

bloodhounds, trained to find black slaves. Then the slave, upon returning,

would be executed or severely whipped.

The "Underground Railroad" was a project that helped black slaves

escape into Canada, especially Amherstburg. The system involved 3,000

white helpers and freed an estimated 75,000 people after the civil war.

Slavery in the middle of the 1800's was abolished except for the

rebellion states in the south. In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation

was issued which made slavery illegal in the states that had rebelled

and allowed black slaves to serve in the army and get other jobs, or

continue to work on the plantations, as employees making money.

The nightmare of slavery was over but a new one was to begin.

One that was worse for it was prevalent but was secret and silent. One

that exists today. One that does not shrink but rather grows. Racism

was and is upon us.

Racism

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a

nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the

content of their character" (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Ku Klux Klan. Neo Nazis. The Aryan Nations. The American Nazi

Party. What are these groups? Why are they present in a land of supposed

equality of all men? They are there because there are millions of

Americans that believe in their message of white pride.

The African American population is growing and Americans are now

a mixed group of people. Black people are white people's neighbours,

doctors, friends. With a growing unity between the two races, why does

racism continue? The answer is simple. Racists from many years ago

raise their kids in clans