19th Century African American Culture Essay

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During the 19th century, the use of Africans as slaves of the landowners was very common. These faced a long life, a lot of physical and emotional abuse and many times, the only way I had to free myself was the dance. African culture was used as a form of rebellion and relaxation, without leaving behind its cultural characteristics. The dance has always served for many reasons, whether cultural, power or as a form of rebellion and this time was not the exception. In the United States, the slave trade was very common. In the north of the United States and in the south, there were slightly different thoughts about slaves. In both places, Africans were used to work and serve, but during the 19th century northern Americans preferred to proclaim…show more content…
The Africans spent a lot of time working and being exploited and to relax and promote their culture, despite being out of their country, they used dance. The dance has long served to relax expressing itself and as a cultural form. Being out of your country, it is a little complicated to preserve the customs intact and more when two or three races are mixed. Keeping their dances helped the Africans to preserve their culture and to free themselves from the heavy days they had had. According to Thompson, "through creolization, enslaved people retained some native musical and dance traditions and invented or adopted new traditions that built community and even helped rebellion." (Thompson). Some of our actual custom are originated for African. Solomon Northup related in his book, “Carnival, although it follows the Catholic calendar and has many strong roots in European traditions, has been shaped by the infusion of African traditions that slaves and their descendants brought to them” (Northup). The term Carnival refers “generally to a wide range of festivities that are held in Europe and the Americas in the days before the Catholic observance of Lent. The music, instruments, themes, styles of singing and dance, traditions of masking, and many other discrete cultural elements show a link to an African past”
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