The African American journey has been one of trials and tribulations which they suffered greatly to achieve freedom and success. The battle has led the citizens of this nation to have witnessed the first African American President of the United States. The journey that has brought African Americans to the present situation has seen intermittent successes and numerous setbacks. Perseverance from many generations has brought about a gradual but progressive change. The journey begun in a state of slavery, through the act of slavery racism was seen in its rarest forms.
The long journey emerged from African Americans being sold to white traders and transported across the Atlantic Ocean. Slaves were auctioned off and sold to the highest bidders. African Americans were considered personal property of the white man and viewed as economic commodity. Their strength and endurance was formed as a result of working in the fields and kitchens from sunrise to sunset. The slaves lived off of the bare necessities in life. This act of slavery existed for decades and helped to shape the course of American history.
From slavery to the March on Washington and many other events, African Americans have fought for their rights in United States, and have achieved their identity through many historical movements. The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution officially abolished slavery and freed the slaves to make a life for themselves as the Reconstruction Period. During the Reconstruction Era (1867) African Americans still suffered hardships under the leadership of Andrew Johnson who became president after Lincoln had got assassinated in 1865. Andrew Johnson had no intention of helping the African Americans he wanted to punish the slaveholders in the South. Andrew Jackson opposed giving African Americans the freedom to vote or equal rights.
1870 the 15th Amendment was ratified and became a law that specified African Americans: Historical Journey from 1865 to the Present 3 African American men had the right to vote. Voting was part of African Americans receiving civil liberties. The Civil Rights Movement and racial oppression were very significant moments in the American history. Exploitation was seen based on the color of one’s skin. Oppression was the way to keep the African American’s voice unheard. The dominant race manipulated America and shaped it according to the value of one race in society.
Gaining equality was the essence of the struggle for African Americans in which white society pushed to prohibit African Americans from gaining any form of equality. Americans were uninformed and unaware of how corrupt the government officials were. During the historical journey of the African Americans the government failed to have all humans’ best interest in mind. The African American Journey Devastation of trials and tribulations were prevalent among the African Americans before 1865. The Civil War put a new twist on how society tuned into a racist world. Racism was very powerful and demanding during this period in life.
Racism still prevails in the present tense only in more subtle ways. Before 1865 issues with slavery depicted lynching, segregation, low wages for job performances and derogatory defamation of character within a race due to skin pigmentation. Slavery and degradation never killed the desire of freedom and a promising future for African Americans. This was one of the foremost occurrences of hatred and dehumanizing of man because of the color of their skin. This exemplified the state of condition the African Americans were placed and recognized that another race was superior or had power over another race. African Americans were considered powerless over their own lives.
The Emancipation African Americans: Historical Journey from 1865 to the Present 4 Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment were passed by a strong leader named Abraham Lincoln, which declared all of America’s slaves were free by 1865. In 1865, African Americans were finally feeling like human beings and not like property that endured brutality, harsh whippings, no rights as humans and cruel punishment. The passing of various civil liberty movements’, education, employment and voting privileges improved.
Fox (2014) stated that southern blacks were impatient in seeking voting privileges. The U. S. Constitution gave all blacks a nominal right to vote, but southern blacks were often blocked at the polls, and racial apartheid was the foundation of a rigid caste system. The Thirteenth and Fifteenth Amendment abolished slavery and Americans were making strides to work things out. After the release of slaves the black codes of law were passed laws, statues, and rules enacted by southern states after the Civil War to gain control over the slaves again and protect the white man’s property from retaliation.
The slave owners were worried that they had to do the Plantation work themselves after the slaves were freed, and blacks would want revenge on them because of the hardships of oppression over hundreds of years. Progression of African Americans throughout the 18th and 19th centuries was a struggle. The relationships between blacks and whites were, frustrating and intense, primarily because the concept of reigning in superior positions over African Americans lives in respect to finances, social activities, cultural values or political affiliations has not changed significantly. African Americans fought for equal opportunity and their rights as a human race.
They struggled to fit in with society. Despite the developments and changes, many fiscal and visual (how they were perceived) characteristics of African Americans at the end of the nineteenth century did not African Americans: Historical Journey from 1865 to the Present 5 differ from that of the mid-1800s. 1865-1876 was considered a time of change for African Americans but racism continued to cause much pain and despair for African Americans. Two significant events that surfaced to support the emergence of African Americans was the Harlem Renaissance Movement (1920) and the Civil Rights Movement.
The Harlem Renaissance contributed to the talents and cultural beliefs of African Americans. They were able to bring perspective and pride to their lives. Harlem Renaissance was defined as: The Harlem Renaissance was the name given to the cultural, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem between the end of World War I and the middle of the 1930s. During this period Harlem was a cultural center, drawing black writers, artists, musicians, photographers, poets, and scholars. Many had come from the South, fleeing its oppressive caste system in order to find a place where they could freely express their talents (Educational Broadcasting Corporation, 2002, p. 1).
African Americans felt they were able to make specific contributions to society and start communicating their feelings, beliefs and values to others. The Harlem Renaissance Movement brought different racial groups together in appreciation of the music and poetry but did not have much success in breaking the racial divide between the races that were expressed in the Jim Crow excerpts. “The Renaissance incorporated jazz and the blues, attracting whites to Harlem speakeasies, where interracial couples danced. It contributed to a certain relaxation of racial attitudes among young whites, but its greatest impact was to reinforce race pride among blacks” (Educational Broadcasting Corporation, 2002, p. 1).
The 1964 Civil Rights Movement gave African Americans the right to take a stand against racism. Racial discrimination was a major problem that caused havoc in the lives of African Americans. Several events emerged from the Civil Rights African Americans: Historical Journey from 1865 to the Present 6 movement that made a significant impact on the lives of African Americans- the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Black Power Movement. The events above promoted a means of outlawing racial discrimination.
Segregation was protested through political and social protest rallies and campaigns. The Black Power Movement gave African Americans a voice to be heard. Political and religious reasons were heard as their voices resonated throughout society. “The African American movement gained political legitimacy because it politicized the grievances of collective memory and appealed to a common ancestry to regain for this people cultural, political, and economic rights by rejecting subordination and White cultural supremacy or hegemony” (Jalata, 2002, p. 1). Before the Civil Rights Movement America was considered in the realms of practicing apartheid.
All African Americans were humiliated, denied their civil rights and liberties, dehumanized and suffered tremendous hardships. Several movements initiated progress for African Americans. They were finally gaining their rights to live as human beings and become a part of society. “But the awkward truth is that when it comes to the goals laid down by the civil rights movement in general and Brown in particular, America is actually going backward” (Younge, 2014, p. 10). A school in Little Rock marked a turn in events for African Americans.
This was in 1957 when the governor issued an order to the National Guard troops to stop the nine black children from entering the school. The order was denied and a mob of white students intimidated the black students. Federal soldiers escorted the black students into the school and were protected by the armed guards. The governor, African Americans: Historical Journey from 1865 to the Present 7 Faubus, closed all of the city’s schools to prevent integration.
The African Americans prevailed regardless of the circumstances. According to Pearson Education (2000) other events that marked a period of setbacks and progression in the lives of African Americans are: •1931 NINE BLACK YOUTHS ARE INDICTED IN SCOTTSBORO, ALA. , ON CHARGES OF HAVING raped two white women. •1947 JACKIE ROBINSON BREAKS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL’S COLOR BARRIER WHEN HE IS signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers by Branch Rickey. •1952 MALCOLM X BECOMES A MINISTER OF THE NATION OF ISLAM.
OVER THE NEXT several years his influence increases until he is one of the two most powerful members of the Black Muslims. •1963 MARTIN LUTHER KING WAS ARRESTED FOR MARCHING AGAINST ANTI-SEGREGATION. •1966 THE BLACK PANTHERS WAS FOUNDED. •1967 THURGOOD MARSHALL WAS APPOINTED TO THE SUPREME COURT. •2002 HALLE BERRY AND DENZEL WASHINGTON RECEIVED OSCARS FOR BEST ACTORS.
•1992 RACIAL RIOTS ARE SEEN IN LOS ANGELES AFTER ACQUITTING FOUR WHITE BOYS FOR beating Rodney King. African Americans: Historical Journey from 1865 to the Present 8 •2005 CONDOLEEZZA RICE BECOMES THE FIRST BLACK FEMALE U. S. SECRETARY OF STATE. •2009 BARACK OBAMA BECAME THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESIDENT. Many problems that exist today seem to be repeating themselves.
America seems to be making an upturn and the ugly faces of racism are reappearing. Younge (2014) stated that schools are re-segregating, legislation is being gutted, it’s getting harder to vote, large numbers are being deprived of their basic rights through incarceration, and the economic disparities between black and white are growing. In many areas, America is becoming more separate and less equal. Overcoming hurdles was nothing new to Obama and Colin Powell.
Both men achieved success in American society. Obama became the first black president and Colin Powell became Secretary of State and served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Barack Obama is the first African American President of the United States and that is considered a very important step forward in this country. His administration has been one of struggle and plight to succeed because of the turmoil going on in the nation. Obama has succeeded in great ways without the support of many Republicans in the house. Asked “So, how has being Black affected your ability to govern? ,” Obama replied in part:
“By virtue of being African-American, I’m attuned to how throughout this country’s history there have been times when folks have been locked out of opportunity, and because of the hard work of people of all races” (Cooper, 2012, p. 11). Obama has been successful in making equal opportunity a solution to African Americans: Historical Journey from 1865 to the Present 9 many problems. He has slowly opened the doors to more people and made equal opportunity happen through vigilance and determination. A great historical event occurred when Obama was elected as President.
This surprised many Americans in the world. This symbolized a step forward towards racial equality in the history of African Americans. This election captured several important turn of events that said we have made great accomplishments. This completed the Civil Rights Movement and what it stood for, an emergence of a post-racial society, the elimination of multiculturalism and the possibility of ending the black struggle.
There were several activist that would not have concluded that the black struggle has ended. Those people were Marcus Garvey, Ella Baker and Huey P. Newton. Their beliefs were based on specific facts that unifying scattered people of African descent, inspiring racial pride, and ultimately creating a separate, independent country should be the goals of racial uplift. Garvey thought black people were oppressed and divided as a race. Because they were ‘scattered as an unmixed and unrecognized part’ in numerous nations they were dependent upon the other races for kindness and sympathy.
Many people have struggled to explain the plight of the African American race but the journey was one of hardship, courage and endurance that built character. The African American race has come a long way from cruelty and hardship inflicted during the 1800’s. The journey encompassed freedom, voting rights, civil liberties and equality. African Americans: Historical Journey from 1865 to the Present 10 References Blackpast. org. (2007). African American history timeline 1901-2000. Retrieved from http://www. blackpast. org/timelines/african-american-history-timeline-1900-2000 Cooper, K. J. (2012). The President’s Report Card.
Crisis (15591573), 119(4), 6. Retrieved from http://search. ebscohost. com.proxy-library. ashford. edu/login. aspx? direct=true&db=f5h&AN=88314705&site=eds-live Educational Broadcasting Corporation (2002). The Harlem Renaissance. Retrieved from http://www. pbs. org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_events_harlem. html Fox Piven, F. (2014).
50 and FIGHTING. Planning, 80(6), 10. Retrieved from http://search. ebscohost. com. proxy-library. ashford. edu/login. aspx? direct=true&db=f5h&AN=96548704&site=eds-live Jalata, A. (2002). Revisiting the black struggle: Lessons for the 21st century. Journal of Black Studies, 33(1). Retrieved from African Americans: Historical Journey from 1865 to the Present 11 http://search.
ebscohost. com. proxy-library. ashford. edu/login. aspx? direct=true&db=edb&AN=7268500&site=eds-live Kirk, J. (2009). THE LONG ROAD TO EQUALITY. History Today, 59(2), 52-58. Retrieved from http://search. ebscohost. com. proxy-library. ashford. edu/login. aspx? direct=true&db=aph&AN=36590274&site=eds-live Pearson Education. (2000).
African American history timeline. Retrieved from http://www. infoplease. com/spot/bhmtimeline. html Younge, G. (2014). The Awkward Truth about Race. Nation, 298(24), 10-11. Retrieved from http://search. ebscohost. com. proxy-library. ashford. edu/login. aspx? direct=true&db=aph&AN=96204081&site=eds-live.
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