African Americans

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Treatment of African Americans

Treatment of African Americans


The African American conflict dates back to history when the conflict of the black and white started. This conflict has caused a lot of problems because Whites were given preference and Blacks were not even considered. The colonization complicated the issue, furthermore.


The American Colonization Society was formed in 1817 by prominent whites with the purpose of sending blacks back to Africa as an alternative to their emancipation and freedom in the United States. Although its leaders did suggest that eventually slaves might be purchased for purposes of Colonization, the major purpose of the society was the return of the free Negroes to Africa. It claimed that the free Negroes were inferior and living in terrible conditions of poverty and ignorance, and argued they would be better off if returned to Africa. The idea of Colonization received widespread support throughout the white community of the Northern states and some support among black adherents of back-to-Africa movements. But, generally, African-American leaders were opposed to the idea because it suggested blacks were inferior and could not succeed as free people in the United States. These leaders also argued that Colonization of free Negroes would only make slavery more secure by removing its most effective opponents. They also argued that blacks were Americans by birth and entitled to citizenship and equality in this country.

Colonization was supported by all of the early American presidents and later by Abraham Lincoln. Congress appropriated large sums to support it, and several thousand Africans were eventually settled in a colony in West Africa, which in 1847 became the independent Republic of Liberia. But ultimately the efforts of the society failed because most black people preferred freedom in the United States rather than going back to Africa.

Rebel Slaves

The slaves started to rebel. Usually, of course, they just flared up for a moment, refused to obey, or ran away to the woods or swamps for a while. However, thousands of slaves resisted violently. In self-defense or revenge, or maddened by cruelty and frustration, they recklessly ignored the enormous odds against them. They fought off beatings. They burned their masters' buildings, damaged their crops, and killed their livestock. They assaulted whites, robbed them, and poisoned them.

Everyday irritations chafed slaves into disobedience and defiance. A slave who had endured many beatings might refuse to take another—like Frederick Douglass, who fought the master to whom he had been hired out. Another slave might brood on his wrongs until he exploded into fury, and suddenly a tool became a weapon. Abram first assaulted his master with a hoe and then picked up a stone. The slave Battiste terrorized a whole neighborhood in Alabama.

Women sometimes reacted with equal violence. Now and then a slave's rebellion forced the owner into respectful wariness. Or the owner might decide to sell the slave. By the time the Civil War erupted, feeling for and against slavery ran high in the North as well as in the ...
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