Among many of the ethnic groups that experienced a combination of segregation, racism, and prejudice; African Americans is one of the few that is still faced with one or more forms of discrimination today. The majority of African Americans came to the United States from Africa to be slaves, while others are citizens or residents of the United States from partial ancestry a form of the native population. In 1619, the first recorded Africans were recorded in British North America in Jamestown, Virginia, and the numbers began to increase as more English settlers died from harsh conditions and the Africans were brought to work as laborers.
In the late 1700s the American Revolution occurred, which landed approximately 3 million Africans in slavery in the United States by the mid-1800s, (Centerwall, Brandon, 1984). In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln declared that all slaves in the United States from a Union were free. Meanwhile the declaration of Africans being free from slavery was joyful event, it was also the beginning of a growing battle that lead to a different approach of discrimination including; segregation, prejudice, and racism.
By the 1900s, the African American population increased, which majority of the population lived in the Southern states of the United States. The Southern states enforced the Jim Crow laws, which mandated racial segregation in all public facilities giving white Americans advantages over black Americans in public schools, public transportation, restrooms, restaurants and drinking fountains. In order to eliminate the control that white Americans had over African Americans, African Americans began to build their own schools, churches, and communities.
Although, African Americans building their own communities was the intention of avoiding the humiliation of the Jim Crow laws, it still didn’t prevent the African Americans from becoming victims of racially motivated violence. African Americans experienced countless acts of violence incidents that lead blacks battered, beaten and even dead in some cases. White Americans begin to form organizations that promoted white power, leading the organizations to practice out violence and destroy African Americans property.
A popular white power organization called themselves the Ku Klux Klan and performed acts against blacks that included; lynching cross burnings, physical violence, and house burnings towards African Americans. Although, the Ku Klux Klan was formed in 1867, it has been rumors that there are people that are still secretly members today. African Americans experienced a wider range of discrimination, segregation, and racism more so in the later days but still arise in society today. In a perfect world, no one would be judged by the color of their skin and society would focus on a person’s individual true character.
Often times African Americans miss out on opportunities because they are being judged by the color of their skin, rather than their abilities. The United States has tried to provide Americans the rights to equal opportunity, by creating the Affirmative action. The affirmative action eliminates people being granted opportunities based on their race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin and ensures that minority groups within a society receive equal opportunities.
Although, the affirmative action was intended to diminish situations which cause people to participate in different forms of discrimination, but unless it could be fully proven that African Americans were being passed up for jobs, education, income and other forms of advancements there will never be a way to fully prohibit this form of discrimination. Today, there is still unequal opportunities and discriminatory treatment that occurs in the United States especially with African Americans.
African Americans were affected by many forms of discrimination that decreased advancement to equal other races in society. They were faced with dual labor market, forcing blacks to work in lower labor market areas. Redlining was enforced by keeping businesses from helping African Americans simply because of the area they lived in. Many African Americans wanted to better themselves by furthering their education, but suffered from institutional discrimination and given less information and aid for education.
Knowing the history of the African American struggles on; prejudice, discrimination, and segregation allows me to understand my roots and accomplishments of my ethnic group. Personally the history of African Americans affects me greatly, because it is the combination of struggles that has played a huge role to my advancements and opportunities performed daily. The African American ancestors fought daily through all counts of discrimination helps that allows all groups of different minority groups the same equal rights for advancement opportunities.
Although, the majority of the world views of African Americans has changed there are still people that choose to discriminate against African Americans by choosing not to change with the ways of the world and maintain prejudice. Acts of discrimination is performed but not as greatly as many years ago. African American culture has had a rough past journey, but in the long run the majority of the United States has made it possible for all African Americans equal rights and opportunities in life.