New Societies, new people, and new communities usually originate as a result of migration. People decide to move from one place to another for better opportunities, better lives, and new challenges. This remains true for the African American race as well. It has been believed that the original migration took place in 1619 when African Americans arrived to Jamestown, Virginia. However, the first African Americans migrated to the United States almost a century earlier in the 1500’s coming from Mexico and the Caribbean to the Spanish territories of Florida, Texas, and other parts of the South.
African-American Migration Experience Though many migrated to the U. S. voluntarily, most African Americans were victims of massive enslavement. War, slave raiding, kidnapping and political religious struggle accounted for the vast majority of Africans deported to the Americas. African Americans were forced into slavery. Many children were kidnapped and sold as slaves. There were those of which who rebelled by refusing to be enslaved that would be expelled from their homes and families then either murdered or forced to be slaves.
Slavery developed because the Northern Africans had a monopoly over spices, gold, and other commodities that the Europeans wanted. Europe would send ships back and forth to Africa to trade goods and in the process they were able to grow comfortable with navigating the seas. As a result, Europe was able to develop very good shipbuilding skills that in turn led to the sending of large vessels. That moved the Portuguese to add an additional commodity to their cargo: African men, women, and children.
The Portuguese then used African Americans as slaves to work their sugar plantations. Over time English and Dutch ships preyed on the Portugal vessels for slaves, while raiding and looting the African mainland. Slaves were brought to the United States of America during the triangular trade. Ships were built to handle a maximum of 350 people, but Europeans would transport over 800 men, women, and children under some of the harshest conditions. Slaves would be branded, stripped naked during the entire trip, lying down in the midst of filth, all while enduring unbearable heat.
All slaves went through frightening, incredibly brutal and dehumanizing experiences. Women and children were raped for the pleasures of the crew. The sick were tossed overboard unto the sea. People who tried to starve themselves to death were forced to eat by the torturing of scolding hot coal pressed onto their bodies. African-American Migration Experience Those who survived the Middle Passage arrived to America only to encounter more grief. They were sent to plantations and farms for agricultural duties.
They were used for mining, and placed in towns as servants. In South Carolina and Georgia they grew rice, cotton, and indigo. In Louisiana they slaved over sugarcane plantations. They labored over tobacco farms in Virginia and Maryland. This went on until 1808 when the United States abolished its slave trade from Africa. However, slave trade went on unabated until 1860. In 1898 the boll weevil ate its way through Texas and proceeded to eat its way East across the South. The cotton was destroyed and slaves were thrown off of the land.
After WWI there was an economic boom that resulted in the need for agricultural work, but unfortunately most states in the South passed the Jim Crow laws that discriminated against African Americans and led to segregation. African Americans couldn’t attend the same schools as white Americans. They couldn’t use facilities such as restaurants, theaters, hotels, cinemas, and public baths. Public transportation was also segregated and in some states marriage between white and black people. African Americans were at the mercy of landlords, abusive employers, and almost anyone set on depriving them of their rights.
This went on until president Franklin D. Roosevelt was forced to issue an executive order mandating the end to racial discrimination. The Fair Employment Practices Committee was created to enforce this mandate, which acted as the launching pad that would bare dividends in the future. Riots erupted in 1943, leading to beatings, deaths, and arrest. African American then resulted to boycotts and sit-ins during the Civil Rights movement. As a result, the Supreme Court reversed the separate but equal doctrine in 1954, ruling in Brown v.
Board of Education. There was also the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act that signaled an attack on Jim Crow. The African-American Migration Experience This report reveals the enormous amount of pain, grief, and violence suffered by my ancestors during slavery. I am so appreciative to all those people who marched, boycotted, and endured the pain and suffering so that my children and I could have the freedom to eat in any restaurant, sleep at any hotel, drink water out of any fountain, and go to school to get a good education.
I may not be able to relate culturally to the ethnic group that I have written about because I am way too young, but that doesn’t change the fact that I recognize what they fought and stood for and I plan to make sure that my children are taught the history of how African Americans migrated to the United States, and what they went through to get here. References In Motion. The African-American Migration Experience. Retrieved April 9, 2007, from http://www. inmotionaame. org/home. cfm.
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