Week 1 dissc 1 hist - Essay Example

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What we can do, however, is research writings from this period in an attempt to better understand the mindset of the slave and to surmise what…
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The Reconstruction Era The Reconstruction Era The idea that we can truly understand the hardship and sheer humiliation that slaves encountered on a daily basis is a bit farcical. What we can do, however, is research writings from this period in an attempt to better understand the mindset of the slave and to surmise what their true feelings were. Just prior to the reconstruction, slaves were freed and allowed to go on their own. This is a funny word ‘free’, however, because slaves lacked education, training, and even language. They had little to no chance of making even a modest living; so many became more lost and destitute than they were during the actual period of slavery. Some slaves did have contacts on the ‘outside’ and they had a bit of an education, so they were more able to fit into mainstream society, find work or a farm to tend, and begin to rebuild their lives. In this context, many would argue that a freed slave was better off remaining in their original slave state than moving to a former non-slave state in the North.
It is a false assumption to think that the North was truly anti-Slave. While it is true that they did not allow slavery within their borders, many were still highly discriminatory against the African American. On the contrary, while many slave owners were guilty of crimes against their slaves, many did provide for them, gave them training and skills, and took care of their basic needs. While they were not free, they were taken care of. So, upon the abolition of slavery, many slaves found themselves confused as to where they wished to uproot and move their family. Naturally, these desired to be free and to live out their remaining days, not as a slave, but as a provider to their own family (Berwanger, 1979, p. 103). On the other hand, however, they had to face reality and felt the need to reside in a place that they felt comfortable and could put food on their table.
Many slaves opted to remain in the South. They understand the plantations and felt at home working the fields. Now, many of them found employment on their original homesteads. Rather than being a slave, they were able to earn an honest days wage and provide for their family. While they were still discriminated against, they felt more at home than they would have in the North, where employment would have been difficult at best and the cities would have been foreign to them.

Berwanger, E. (1979). Western black spokesmen of the reconstruction era. The Journal of
Negro History, 64(2), 101-115. Read More
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