1 page/≈275 words
Literature & Language
American History: The African Americans & General Misconception (Essay Sample)
African Americans encountered a challenging period during the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century commonly known as the reconstruction era. There was a huge misunderstanding on freedom, to most freedmen it meant land ownership. Civil rights amendments were meant to free the society and make it equal for all, but this was not the case for the African Americans as they realized years after the declaration of freedom. There were a lot of injustices to the African Americans that the government was not able to address. There was widespread anger across the nation to change the existing laws and abolish slavery which was unfair to the African Americans. The conception of freedom to the American America was misconstrued.
The law was subjective and served to preserve the powers of the whites against the blacks. The African Americans could not turn to the law for support instead they acquired weapons to protect themselves and fight for their dear lives (Edgerton, Colbert and Nabokov 549). The continued agitation they held against the government through protests and calling for the change of law finally bore fruits, and freedom was declared marking the end of civil war. Little did they know that freedom did not mean fairness or equality as they had visualized. Freedom in the country had a different meaning for the Africa Americans as most of them continued working hard on the farms of their masters with no pay or honor and respect. After declaration of independence and realizing they were far from real freedom they acquired guns and gave themselves big political names perhaps to raise their fighting spirit for real freedom (Edgerton, Colbert and Nabokov 549). Their resolve to break from the chains of slavery bore fruits and as they finally had their land to till but this feeling of euphoria was not shared by everybody as some slaves thought that working for the whites was better since they had become broke in their own fields.
The African Americans Had a General Misconception That Freedom Would Make Them Productive and Happy
Felix Haywood from San Antonio Texas was elated by the call and declaration of liberty, and together with his father thought that this was their moment to leave their masters field and get rich as quickly as possible. Little did they know that success for them, being black meant more than owning a parcel of land, they realized they lacked the necessary education to compete in the fast-growing economy (Adeleke 440-441). They were proud to be free, and perhaps own their parcels of land and their cattle which they would brand as it pleased them. This alone provided happiness and a sense of pride but not productivity as they had thought. Felix thought because he had toiled in the land for many years together with his father he was better placed than his master who was only a supervisor. This turned out to be an illusion, the equality called for by the civil rights groups was not a reality on them being African American. Felix and his father believed to fight for equality was against their master wish, realizing too late that fighting for freedom was not over until they had equality.
Another General Misconception Among the Blacks Was That Freedom Would Translate to Equality and Better Living Standards as Well As More Job Opportunities.
After the civil war, this dream remained just a dream as many black people lost their lives trying to better their lives through diseases and lack of government support. Warren McKinney from the haze, Arkansas and born in South Carolina was one of the many victims who experienced some of these injustices by the whites. He lost a brother and a sister while they tried to walk long distances looking for opportunities (Adeleke 440-441). War destabilized the whole black population and most run to Augusta, but the challenge was land was barren, and they were too many of them to produce food from those fields. The slaves were whipped by their masters as Warren explains how his mother would be beaten in the fields therefore when they heard of freedom they breathed a sigh of relief only for a racist group, Ku Klux to spring up. Most African Americans dreams were shuttered due to the harsh realities as they realized the war was far from over. Reconstruction was really hard for them due to these hard facts of life, Warren considered going back to the Arkansas courtesy of Mr.Emenson where they could farm and engaged in odd jobs to get a little bread and a place to live.
African Americans Sought Validation and Acceptance After the Civil War Through Adopting Big Names of Famous Politicians Like Abraham Lincoln.
This turned out to be just a dream to them as nothing changed regarding freedom of working in their masterâ€™s fields, they were threatened by Ku Klux of bad consequences if dared to leave. Lee Guidon is another participant of the civil war, his birthplace was South Carolina and had countless narration of the war to freedom as he had firsthand experience during and after the civil war. What happened after the civil war did not inspire hope to many blacks of his generation in fact they felt robbed of their independence. The civil war was only for the astute members wither slave or free, this was to the advantage of Lee and his younger sister since they were too young to fight they remained behind to baby sit. Since Lee and his sister were young, they could not go to war. Therefore, they had to remain behind to look for their masterâ€™s baby (Adeleke 440-441). The baby's father, Jim Cowan, would come home after the fight and assert that the people of color would never win the war. This daily assertion of how the blacks were fighting in vain made Lee Guidon and his associates believe that the whites were a superior people compared to them. After independence, they were unable to build their future and chose to stay around with their masters. Any attempt to leave was met with threats from Ku Klux that they would whump them hard. The Ku Klux chased the resisting blacks away, and they were determined to return them where they had come from if were not ready to work in the fields.
Most People of Color Understood Freedom to Mean Honor, Respect, And Prosperity
Most people of color had the hope of a better future where hard work would determine your worth, only to realize that during the so-called Reconstruction it was the old society in a new structure full of discrimination. After freedom declaration, they realized that freedom was far from good life, respect and provision of basic needs. There was no equality after freedom as the whites received preferential treatment than their black counterparts even from the government. The cruel laws allowed by the government such as lynching of blacks only aggravated the matter and animosity between the whites and blacks (Edgerton, Colbert and Nabokov 549). Toby Jones from Madisonville had to run away from his master in a horse in search of real freedom. Women had to fight for better wages and a habitable environment, but these calls fell on deaf ears. Toby Jones had to fight for his freedom because his master was not willing to let him go, he had the guts to tell him to the face that he would not free him. This injustice led him to steal a horse from his master and run away to freedom with his woman, Govie (Adeleke 440-441). After riding for about a hundred miles Jones and his wife, Govie thought they were free only to realize that freedom did not mean happiness or food on the table. Jones and Govie had to make clothes from animal skin and kill wild animals for food something they had not contemplated during the fight for liberty. Freedom had not made them better as they struggled to make a living.
Independence of skilled artisans.
The independence declaration was a big break for the skilled artisans having struggled in the late nineteenth century, they could easily secure jobs and making their lives better. It was almost guaranteed employment for the skilled workmen, the piano-forte trade had blossomed and expanded their area of operation (Calhoun 12-24). Educatio...
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