Slavery Movement In America

Powerful Essays
Movement for Improvement Origins of Slavery in the United States In 1619, the first slaves arrived in America. These African slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia, an English colony, which had been established just 12 years earlier. The desire for labor led to centuries of slavery in the United States, continuing to the 1860s. The fact that “some historians have estimated that 6 to 7 million slaves were imported to the New World during the 18th century alone” shows the extreme dependence on slaves in the United States at the time (“Slavery in America”). After two hundred forty six years of brutal and sadistic slave treatment, slavery was outlawed in 1865 through the 13th Amendment, thus freeing an estimated 4 million slaves. This amendment…show more content…
Starting in the 1950s, this movement, widely known as the Civil Rights Movement, involved reformers and activists using “nonviolent protest[s] and civil disobedience to bring about change” (“Civil Rights Movement”). Many leading figures of this movement included Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Andrew Goodman and others, all of whom risked and, in some cases, sacrificed their lives for the movement. At the time, one very important court case that helped fuel the movement was Brown v. the Board of Education, which was brought to the Supreme Court. In this case, the Supreme Court stated that “the racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment” (McBride). This decision helped spread desegregation in both schools and other public areas, as it went against the previous court case of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, which stated that the idea of “separate but equal” was Constitutional, even though African Americans and other people of color hardly ever received equal conditions as whites. Another important event of this movement was when James Meredith, an African American, enrolled at the University of Mississippi. He was the first African American to enroll at this university. People there reacted with violent acts and uprisings,…show more content…
Civil Rights activists heavily influenced James Baldwin, which is clearly seen in his writing. In one notorious publication, which he titled “Letter to my Nephew,” Baldwin gave several tips regarding race and segregation to his nephew, who was growing up through the Civil Rights Movement. Baldwin wrote, “you come from sturdy peasant stock, men who picked cotton, dammed rivers, built railroads, and in the teeth of the most terrifying odds, achieved an unassailable and monumental dignity.” With this, Baldwin was telling his nephew to be proud of his race, which was important in achieving equality of races. Also regarding this pride, Baldwin said, “you don’t be afraid. I said it was intended that you should perish, in the ghetto, perish by never being allowed to go beyond and behind the white man’s definition.” This shows that Baldwin is describing to his nephew the confidence and aspirations the African Americans must have for change. In addition, to show the difficulty of the change involved in the entire movement, Baldwin said, “try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shivering and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature.” In this quote, Baldwin uses stars as an analogy, saying that most whites, who represent the sun, would be extremely out of place if they
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