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History - Term Paper Example

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Robert Sims HIS 204 The African American Experience Christine Hansen April 19, 2011 INTRODUCTION African-Americans have undergone a tremendous historical journey in the years of 1865 to the present day. It is my intention to document the historical progression in terms of what was happening to African Americans, what they did, and how they coped and endured…
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Download file to see previous pages The WPA project of the 1930’s recorded statements by fomer slaves. These statements rang truest when the interviewer allowed the subjects to speak freely. Henry Green’s voice is especially compelling: “I don’t know how old I is, young mistress. I was here ‘fore the civil war, young mistress. I was born in south Alabama…my mama name Emily Green, young mistress. She had three children to my knowing. I don’t know no father…I never went to school a day in my life…When I come to this state, Van Vicks and Bill Bowman immigrated one hunderd head of us…our family was landed at Phillips Bayou…I was a cowboy, me and George…Mama was a mik woman…I was willed to Mars Billy…Nobody run off from Boss William Green. He told ‘em if they run off he would whoop ‘em…the Ku Kluckses come one night…They was getting submission over the country…They would make you be quiet ‘long the roadside…the Ku Kluckses whipped some, tied some out to trees and left ‘em. They was rough, young mistress” (Green, 1939). Green’s harrowing account of life during slavery, and the vengeance of the Klan after the Civil War, bears witness to the events that were to set the stage for the African American experience ever after. He reports voting, and owning a pony. ...
Lincoln’s assassination led to the installment of President Johnson, who allowed the South to encact Black Codes of law whose main purpose was to preserve the antebellum status quo: a caste system ensuring that white men would retain their previous power (Davidson, et al, 2010, p. 474). Many states in the New South codified restriction on the freedoms that had been promised to African Americans. The former slaves were called freedmen, but in some states could not work where they chose, could not serve on juries, and could not rent or buy farmland. Johnson, a political coward, ignored the cries of outrage coming from the North, and eagerly adopted the Black Codes as well as eagerly pardoned many former rebels. In addition, Congress defeated proposals to give freedmen forty acres of land each. In these ways, land ownership was denied to African Americans (Davidson, et al, 2010, p. 475). New state constitutions were enacted in the South, which gave freedmen the right to vote, yet ignored social segregation. In response, African Americans developed their own important institutions--the black schools and churches. Literacy was extremely important to the freedmen and women, because they knew it was needed to defend their rights. The schools were faced with white opposition: “Hostile white southerners destroyed black schools and…even murdered white teachers” (Davidson, et al, 2010, p.482). The Freedmen’s Bureau stepped in to train black teachers. Black churches were hugely important at this time because they were the only institutions completely controlled by African Americans. The Black church offered sanctuary from the white wolrd, and a chance to form and nurture a new identity. The hopes and dreams of African Americans were set in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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