African American history

The beginnings of slavery in the US-slave trade

-1619: first African Americans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia
– 1640: Maryland allowed slavery: start of belief that Blacks were unhuman
– 1717- 1721: mass importation of African- American slaves
– Slaves in the South worked on farms and plantations
– Slave overseers were allowed to whip and brutalize noncompliant slaves
– worked all day long, followed their own religion secretly
– slaveholders were allowed to: – forbid a marriage
– sexually exploiting
– punish slaves etc.

The abolition of the Atlantic slave trade(1750-1840)

– Antislavery feelings appear in the 18th century in Europe
-1750: abolitionists fight for the end of slavery
-1775- 1783: American Revolution
-1787: slavery was forbidden in the North
-slaves fled from South to North
-“underground railroad”:secret system with hiding places etc.


1850: Fugitive Slave Act: allowed slave owners to catch fugitives for themselves
-1860: Lincoln was elected president without winning a single Southern State
Lincoln was against slavery
-7 southern states seceded from Union
1861: Confederation is born, Jefferson Davis is the new president

-Civil war from 1861 to 1865
– reasons for the Civil War:
– South separated from North
-Industrialization in the North- less slaves
– More agriculture in the South – more slaves

Arguments of Northern abolotionists:
– slavery is detrimental (nachteilig) to the economic development of the South
– non-slave holders are disadvantaged
– slavery is morally degrading (entwürdigend) upon those who own slaves
– the life of the slaves is degrading: they are brutally treated, physically and emotionally exploited
– slaves are denied a stable family life
– slaves are denied religious instruction and education
– slavery is a monstrous social crime

Arguments of the Southerners:
– blacks are racially inferior (minderwertig) -> racism
– blacks are specially suited for agricultural work
– the bible and the Federal Constitution sanction slavery
– history provides examples of civilisations making use of slaves
– under paternalism (Bevormundung) slaves are better-off and enjoy better conditions than in Africa
– there is little difference between the slavery in the South and the wage slavery in the North: oppressed and exploited workers in mills and factories are worse off than plantation slaves

Northern States: Union Southern states: Confederacy

-1863: Emancipation Proclamation: war is for: abolition of slavery and liberation of all slaves in the South
-July 1863: Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; South was defeated
-Congress approves the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery
– Confederate Gen. Lee surrenders after his defeat in Richmond
– Lincoln got shot by John Wilkes Booth (April)
– Remaining Confederate troops surrender; the Civil War has ended
May: Remaining Confederate troops surrender; the Civil War has ended

Reconstruction Era(1865-1877)

-Government enacted(erlassen) a series of Reconstruction Acts to improve the status of Black Americans:
– 13th Amendment finally ratified; slavery is abolished
– before Southern states could remove to Union, they had to ratify the 14th ammendment and the 15th ammendment(right to vote)
-1875: civil Rights Act: discrimination was forbidden
– however: KuKluxKlan, lynching, sharecropping
-Northern states were tired to fight for slaves

African American life after the Civil War:

legal situation (amendments 13-15)
-13. slavery is abolished
-14. right to vote
-15. discrimination equal rights before the law
reality: African-Americans
-no education
-no property
reality: Whites
-no respect “equal but separate”
-violence / discrimination
felt deprived of slavery as economic basis

Jim-Crow-Laws(about 1876- 1965)-segregation

-Laws made by Southerners to limit rights of Blacks
-Civil Rights Act was declared unconstitutional
-1896: segregation was legalized
-between 1890 and 1900: more than 1200 blacks were lynched
-“separated but equal”
-slavery had been replaced by segregation
-laws were made to stop Blacks from voting
– Slavery turned to racism

different reactions: Du Bois and Washington
establishment of the NAACP: organization which fought for their civil rights and against Jim Crow-Laws

Civil rights movement

The Great migration and Race rioting

-1910-1930: many African Americans left the South for the North
-reasons: better jobs, freedom from racial violence, voting rights or better educational opportunities
– Nevertheless most of them remained isolated, Ghettos were formed
-many riots in different cities of the US
– 1919: Chicago race riot: worst riot during the Red Summer of 1919

Montgomery Bus Boycott(1955)

-political and social protest campaign started in 1955
-reaction of the Jim Crow Laws, especially the situation in public buses
-The case of Rosa Parks started the boycott
-Most black people didn’t take the bus
-Boycott was extended, all in all 381 days

African-American Civil Rights Movement
movement against racial discrimination and segregation
Black Power Movement enlarged the aims: racial dignity, freedom
Montgomery Bus Boycott was very successful
Martin Luther King was the most famous person in this movement
Biggest effect: Martin Luther King is killed

Martin Luther King
15.01.1929 – 04.04.1968
most famous speech: “I Have a Dream”
received the Nobel Peace Prize
he was shot in his motel

e831b1b9953848998956092e7c317698 - African American History
African American History
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