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Contradictions Of Slavery

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According to Slavery and Public History by James Olivier Horton, the collective memory of slavery in the United States has often neglected in creating a full narrative of the past. The painful and unflattering practice of slavery has been thoroughly neglected and misrepresented. Consequently, there is a divided collective memory of slavery amongst Whites and Blacks in the United States. While Black Americans remember the event with great pain, Whites do not acknowledge the harmful of effects of slavery. The effects of slavery have had a significant effects on Blacks which have translated in political, economic and social barriers. Unfortunately, due to a distorted retelling of the past has resulted in the assumption that slavery no longer affects…show more content…
The cognitive dissonance of American values and morals with the practice of slavery has made it difficult for some to accept that our country was simultaneously built on freedom and slavery. This brings into question the very beliefs and values that the United States was built upon. How can a nation that values freedom and equality have once practiced slavery at the same time as it was declared that “all men are created equally”? Horton highlights this issue and describes how many people have trouble accepting the truth. Horton mentions how during the American Revolution, the Revolutionists saw themselves as slaves of the British. Although slavery was contradicted the ideas of freedom brought forth by the Revolutionist, these notions only applied to White men. Therefore, although the Declaration of Independence stated that “all men are created equally”, Black slaves were not included in the category of “all…show more content…
According to Horton, in the late 1940’s and in the 1950’s “students were told that the abolition of slavery might not have been the best thing for blacks”. These sentiments are only further explored in books and movies such as, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. In Mitchell’s novel and later film, slaves are reduced to the “loveable but limited servant”. The realities of slavery are overwritten and replaced with a romanticized form of servitude that only serves to prevent the Pre-Civil War south from having its heritage from besmirched. However, this has led some Americans to downplay the abhorring qualities of slavery and its future and current effects of race relations. This raises the question of how can we improve race relations if we do not learn from the past? If we do not recognize the extent in which slavery has causes barriers for Blacks we are overlooking an important explanation for their present conditions. Although the 1994 Colonial Williamsburg African American department’s reenactment of a slavery auction was controversial for its portrayal of a deeply painful past, it brought into light the realities of
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