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- A Different Perspective: Slavery and It's Affect on the African-American Way of Life in America
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- What the history of slavery can teach us about slavery today | UCLA
Many were active participants, some won their freedom and others were victims, but throughout the struggle blacks refused to be mere bystanders and gave their loyalty to the side that seemed to offer the best prospect for freedom. Early in the 18th century a few New England ministers and conscientious Quakers, such as George Keith and John Woolman, had questioned the morality of slavery but they were largely ignored.
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By the s, however, as the colonists began to speak out against British tyranny, more Americans pointed out the obvious contradiction between advocating liberty and owning slaves. Widespread talk of liberty gave thousands of slaves high expectations, and many were ready to fight for a democratic revolution that might offer them freedom. In at least 10 to 15 black soldiers, including some slaves, fought against the British at the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill. Two of these men, Salem Poor and Peter Salem, earned special distinction for their bravery.
By , however, it had become clear that the revolutionary rhetoric of the founding fathers did not include enslaved blacks. In spite of these discouragements, many free and enslaved African Americans in New England were willing to take up arms against the British.
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Eventually every state above the Potomac River recruited slaves for military service, usually in exchange for their freedom. Ultimately they did so. Viewed in historic and cross-national perspective, the legal and political transformation of American race relations since World War II represents a remarkable achievement, powerfully confirming the virtue of our political institutions. Official segregation, which some southerners as late as were saying would live forever, is dead.
A Different Perspective: Slavery and It's Affect on the African-American Way of Life in America
The caste system of social domination enforced with open violence has been eradicated. A large and stable black middle class has emerged, and black participation in the economic, political, and cultural life of this country, at every level and in every venue, has expanded impressively. This is good news. In the final years of this traumatic, exhilarating century, it deserves to be celebrated. In cities across the country, and in rural areas of the Old South, the situation of the black underclass and, increasingly, of the black lower working classes is bad and getting worse.
No well-informed person denies this, though there is debate over what can and should be done about it. Nor do serious people deny that the crime, drug addiction, family breakdown, unemployment, poor school performance, welfare dependency, and general decay in these communities constitute a blight on our society virtually unrivaled in scale and severity by anything to be found elsewhere in the industrial West.
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What is sometimes denied, but what must be recognized is that this is, indeed, a race problem. The plight of the underclass is not rightly seen as another albeit severe instance of economic inequality, American style. These black ghetto dwellers are a people apart, susceptible to stereotyping, stigmatized for their cultural styles, isolated socially, experiencing an internalized sense of helplessness and despair, with limited access to communal networks of mutual assistance.
Their purported criminality, sexual profligacy, and intellectual inadequacy are the frequent objects of public derision.
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In a word, they suffer a pariah status. It should not require enormous powers of perception to see how this degradation relates to the shameful history of black-white race relations in this country.
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Moreover, there is a widening rift between blacks and whites who are not poor—a conflict of visions about the continuing importance of race in American life. Most blacks see race as still of fundamental importance; most whites and also many Asians and Hispanics think blacks are obsessed with race. This rift impedes the attainment of commonly shared, enthusiastically expressed civic ideals that might unite us across racial lines in efforts to grapple with our problems.
As sociologist William Julius Wilson stressed 20 years ago in his misunderstood classic, The Declining Significance of Race, the locus of racial conflict in our society has moved from the economic to the social and political spheres.
What the history of slavery can teach us about slavery today | UCLA
Author G Glenn C. An historic transformation on race-related issues in the United States is taking place. Arguments about black progress are but one part of the broader endeavor to recast our national understanding of racial matters—an undertaking of enormous importance. A struggle that succeeded brilliantly to win legal equality for blacks after a century of second-class citizenship has for the most part failed to win a national commitment toward eradicating the effects of this historical inheritance.
The civil rights approach—petitioning the courts and the federal government for relief against the discriminatory treatment of private or state actors—reached its limit more than a decade ago. Deep improvement in the status of many blacks has taken place, even as the underclass has grown, and there seems to be no politically effective way of mobilizing a national assault on the remaining problems.
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