African American History
Experiences of African Americans throughout US History
The history of the black race continues to shape the experiences of African Americans in the history of the United States. In many ways, experiences of African Americans have greatly been influenced by slavery as well as racial discrimination throughout the United States. As a matter of fact, black history continues to shape the African American experience through different forms of African culture, slavery, as well as the civil rights movement (Washington, 2008). These have permeated the African American experience through political position, ancestral and communal systems as well as religious practices.
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Political, Social, and Cultural Issues and Concerns throughout American History
For a long period of time, primary political manifestation of the African Americans was the struggle to vote, have a fair counting of ballots, as well as be in a position to elect their ideal candidates. They also desired to build up valuable coalitions with other groups with the main aim of realizing equal opportunity in a white dominated society. This is a struggle that they began in 1865, culminating in the announcement of emancipation in Texas in June 19, 1965. As a result, a white dominated constitutional convention declined to grant suffrage even to learned blacks (Washington, 2008).
Throughout US history, African Americans had suffered disfranchisement ever since the end of Reconstruction. Their leaders went through lots of intimidation, harassment, and violence. However, the revision of discriminatory election laws that began in 1960s led to the increase in black office holding (Washington, 2008). For instance, the year 1964 saw the abolition of poll tax in federal elections with the Supreme Court overturning its use even in state as well as local elections. Today, African Americans have equal political rights like any other American. As a matter of fact, the current President is an African American (Hazen, 2004).
Social and Cultural Issues
Over the years, African Americans in the United States have historically lived with the interruption of cohesive African affiliation configuration. Apparently, this was the core of all social, political and economic functioning. Additionally, they were faced with the middle passage as well as the brutality of the slave trade (Penrice, 2007). As a matter of fact, the two-and-a-half centuries of slavery coupled with its obligatory dejection caused them to live with a mediocre status with little or no prospects for development. It is also worth noting that the liberation of slaves into an antagonistic milieu in South and North America with little protection left many of them neither slaves nor citizens (Random History, 2010).
In most cases, African Americans were denied skills, knowledge, power, contacts, information, or any other thing that could assist them to interact with the mainstream political or economic networks (Penrice, 2007). This in turn, led to huge disproportions in investment both in education as well as the fiscal system. As a result, it has not been easy for them to move from uneducated as well as unskilled to highly educated and skilled people in just a single generation (Washington, 2008).
Legislation Meant to Constrain African Americans within Prejudicial Boundaries
In order to constrain African Americans within prejudicial boundaries, legal measures were put in place to implement this. For instance, in South Carolina, African Americans were kept from voting by an eight box law (Random History, 2010). In other states, poll tax was introduced which meant that those who could not make a certain amount of money could not pay tax, and thus could not vote. As a result, African Americans were kept out of the electoral process. By 1890s, state governments began to call state constitutional conventions which came up with ways of getting around 14th and 15th Amendment that disfranchised African Americans (Hazen, 2004). Notable among these laws were the Jim Crow laws which authorized racial segregation in all public facilities among Southern states. This led to segregation of blacks in public schools, transportation, public places, restaurants, as well as restrooms (Penrice, 2007).
How African Americans Fought Legislation?
African Americans fought the Jim Crow laws by migrating to cities in the North, West and the Midwest in search of more equal opportunities. This came to be known as the Harlem Renaissance since some of the influential African Americans found Harlem, a neighborhood of north of New York City. Apart from migrating to other parts of the US, they also engaged in civil rights movements especially between 1941 and 1970 (Random History, 2010). A good case in point was the Montgomery Bus Boycott which was very successful since it resulted in garnering national attention to the plight of the southern blacks as well as their leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. they fought the Jim Crow laws through sit-ins, protests and marches (Hazen, 2004).
Legislation Meant to Alleviate Prejudicial Boundaries
Following the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in which Martin Luther King Jr. made the historic “I Have a Dream” speech, the White House went ahead to enact the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Random History, 2010). As a result, segregation was banned in all public accommodations as well as in labor unions and in employment. Additionally, Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted. This law struck down literacy tests, poll taxes, as well as other barriers to African American enfranchisement all over the United States.
How African Americans Promoted this Legislation
In order to ensure the realization of freedom, African Americans have increased their presence in the business world, entertainment, music, professional sports industries, as well as the political world (Random History, 2010). They have striven to make significant strides in political empowerment. This is evident from the fact that there are as many as 43 African American delegates in the Congress today. The election of Barrack Obama has somewhat been a crowning achievement for the freedom of African Americans.
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