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Cultural Characteristics Of African Americans Essay

1639 words - 7 pages

Cultural Characteristics of African Americans
The largest minority population in America, African Americans helped to build the foundation and culture of the United States of America from the beginning. Separated from their original homeland and culture, Black slaves struggled to find a new identity, religion, language, and core set of family values. Despite hardships like slavery, segregation, lack of proper education, and divided families, African Americans created a unique, spiritual, and creative culture that thrives in modern times.
Definition of African Americans
The term African American refers to any Black American who is a citizen of the United States. Every Black ...view middle of the document...

They resisted their enslavement by working slow or by running away daily. The punishments for trying to escape were severe and included whippings, shackles, and even death.
In 1830 the American Society of Free Persons of Color was founded to help fight against slavery. The organization provided social aid to poor Blacks and established schools for African American children because these children could not legally enter public schools. The African American schools received the old books from the white schools once the White students completed reading them. Blacks during slavery were not allowed by their White owners to learn how to read. They did not even have a biological name, but instead took the name that was given to them by their White owner. If they lived on a plantation the possibility was high that their last name was the same as the plantation.
The African American culture consists of a group of people who have struggled for survival one generation after another. African Americans have been a part of American culture for a very long time and have paid a high price for their struggle to be accepted as citizens. Some of the colonies in the north and New England showed a strong desire to abolish the slave-trade. Most all of the African Americans freed since 1830 were individuals living in the northern states. Frederick Douglass provided a perfect example of what a freed slave could accomplish if given a proper education and an opportunity to succeed in a free society.
The thirteenth amendment abolished slavery in 1865, but only after a long hard Civil War fought between the North and the South. Later, the south became ready to accept the freed slaves as citizens once they began migrating to the south. However, the promise of freedom and opportunity for African Americans was met by resistance and segregation by Southern Whites.
Segregation
After the slaves were freed by Abraham Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation, the southern states adopted a policy of segregation between Blacks and Whites. White Southerners did not want to accept the change in their own culture and traditions (Terrill & Williams, 2003). Black people were not allowed to vote because of intimidation by the Ku Klux Klan and other racist groups. Black and Whites could not attend the same schools. African Americans and White people were forbidden to sit together on trains, buses, restaurant, or in any public area.
The majority of Blacks lived in poverty and established their own businesses catering to the African American community. African Americans faced racial discrimination, were not welcome or stood the possibility of experiencing mistreatment in the White businesses or establishments. In response, African Americans developed their own communities. Both Blacks and some Whites began to work on making a change to these concerns. Lawsuits were taken before the state and federal courts, and some were successful enough to bring about...

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