Common Myths of Black Americans and the historical reality - Research Paper Example

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The purpose of this essay is to dispel myths related to the history of black Americans. Thus, the paper discusses opportunities and challenges this group faced during the last half of the 1800s; impact of closing of the frontier during the last half of the 1800s…
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Common Myths of Black Americans and the historical reality
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 Common Myths of Black Americans of the Frontier and the Historical Reality THESIS MENT The term ‘frontier’ indicates the period of unrest owing to unsettled land of Colonial America. As it was during this phase that different cultures were being blended in the American society, such changes gave rise to many myths, most of which were related to racial discrimination between Black Americans and the Whites. These frontier myths augmented certain ethical, emotional and moral issues, which were indeed fictitious and had only a negligible resemblance with historical reality (Cambridge University Press, “The Frontier and the West: Realities, Myths and the Historians”). A few of these common myths will be evaluated in this thesis, as they were in contrast to the historical reality of the frontier.

During the 1800’s, there was a high threat of slavery that existed in America. Many black Americans were brought and sold and were forced to work as a slave property. Even the families of the black people were broken and were sold as slaves in various parts of the nation, which certainly imposed a grave challenge to the existence of the race during the then period. However, the Black community also had an advantage to migrate back to their homeland, Africa, escaping from the colonization practices, with the help of the then activists. To be precise, the then American society witnessed a polarization effect within the thoughts and actions of philanthropists, abolition lists and clergy, wherein one sector believed to continue with the slavery and the other agreed to free African slaves – the Black Americans (Slatta 81-84).

In the year 1890, following the 11th Census of the US, with the end of the frontier, the miners of the west began recruiting African immigrants or the Black Americans, which attracted the population at large percentages towards the West. As a consequence, the farmlands of the west also began to be filled, witnessing massive reconstructions in the legal framework, simultaneously with the changing social norms and perceptions (Bowles, 12-20). Overall, the closing of the frontier had immense effects on the perceptions of the African Americans as well as the Whites in the community, forming myths to shape its history (Turner).

Majority of the myths identified in this period of the American Frontier were argued to deprive the Black Americans from their fundamental rights to be free and rather made them subjected to racial discriminations. A myth was that the White Americans are the descendants of God and therefore they deserved a significant position in the society. Conversely, the Black Americans were considered as the inferior race and were therefore treated as slaves. The myth depicts that it was owing to the same reason that they were segregated from the mainstream society of the West, after the conclusion of the frontier. However, historical facts reveal that Americans of the West were more individualistic in nature and seldom allowed interferences or inclusion of other tribes in their culture. In relation to the same notion, Slatta (84) asserts, “individualism, (…) self-reliance, (…) justice and ability to settle its own problems – is equally iconic.” Therefore, keeping the Black Americans secluded in the society could have been the common practice of the West. In addition, the prevalence of legal barriers, such as the Homestead Act of 1862 that restricted immigrants from settling in the region could also have been a major reason of poverty amid Black Americans rather than the practice of racial discrimination (NACAC, “Black Adoption Myths and Realities”). These facts apparently signify the wide gaps between the myths and the reality in the American history of colonization.
Works Cited

Bowles, Mark D. A History of the United States since 1865. California: Ashford University, 2011. Print.

“The Frontier and the West: Realities, Myths and the Historians.” Cambridge University Press. 2001. Web. 06 Feb. 2015.

“Black Adoption Myths and Realities.” NACAC. 2005. Web. 06 Feb. 2015

Slatta, Richard W. “Making and Unmaking Myths of the American Frontier.” European Journal of American Culture 29.2 (2010): 81. Print.

Turner, Frederick Jackson. The Significance of the Frontier in American History. New York: Penguin UK, 2008. Print. Read More
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