From African to African-American

From African to African-American

The history of Africans in America is portrayed as an experience of untold suffering. The lucrative agricultural economy of the America against fading European immigrant workers necessitated African slavery. The main cash crops that were exported to Europe from America were Rice, Tobacco, and Sugar.

Large plantations that covered the Southern part of America required intense labor that African slaves provided[1]. The hostile working conditions and life-threatening social isolation of the African slaves explore the root of the deep-seated racial prejudice. While the indentured whites previously provided manpower, they were replaced by Blacks that were deemed stronger. The working environment and terms showed the skewed value towards life between the Africans and the whites. The extreme toiling in vast plantations from dawn to dusk remained the order of the day mostly among young African slaves. The demand for slaves itself became a well-paying job at the expense of the families of the Africans. The overriding racial discrimination experienced by the African-American community in the contemporary United States has its origin from 1660s.

A comparative evaluation of the type of crops plantation African slaves worked on shows a better social fabric in tobacco farms. The proximity of tobacco plantations enabled slaves to interact fairly closely with their counterparts and establish marital relationships with women. On the other hand, rice plantations were dispersed and made it difficult for slaves to marry or associate with their African mates. Despite such difference, the underlying reality is that socio-economic freedom of the Black slaves was not recognized and almost non-existence. In the modern world past injustices are apparently featured in institutional based discrimination. While the white laborers were taken in an ultimate mutual gain contract, African slaves were condemned to endless mistreatment and inhuman death.

In regard to the labor-intensive agriculture in the South, demographic distribution of African Americans remained higher that in the North. In essence, transition from African slaves to African-Americans took generations and significant cultural blending. Subsequent generations born of slaves in America actually gave rise to the new culture that borrowed partially from Africans and whites. The heavy social burden that female African slaves carried is evident in this case. As noted during the slave trade, women worked in the farms or in their master’s houses under extreme conditions. In such environment they were equally exposed to the lust of the white male masters. Besides, the legal structure that considered slaves as property to the white master promoted sexual exploitation that bore many children of hybrid genes[2]. While the African slaves strived to keep their culture against steady assimilation into the American norms, a new culture emerged. It can be noted that speech, religion, and music among other practices blended to create the distinctive and multicultural contemporary American society.

The diverse background of African slaves is attributed to the wide variety of words featuring in daily communication in America. Examples of words such as Goober (Peanut), Voodoo (Witchcraft) among others have passed into American language[3]. When it comes to music, use of drum and vibrant dance styles brought forth Jazz, which is popular in United States and the world at large.

Religious stands out as a key tool that African slaves expressed their plight and discomfort in the hand of their white masters. Fusing African culture with Christianity is responsible for the protestant outfits that most African Americans belong. In fact, presentation and interpretation of the Christian values were different between white masters and African slaves. The idea was clear in the sense that slave owners campaigned for obedience to perpetuate exploitation of the Blacks[4]. On the other hand, Africans emphasized redemptions to echo need for freedom from shackles of slavery. The 21t century African American churches express the same message of Messiah to send message of discontent with socio-economic and political regimes.

The socio-economic stratification in America placed Africans at the lowest rank. Even at the beginning of the abolitionist campaign, the slaves began to get freedom but economically still remained isolated and desolate. For those that had gained semi-skills in metal works,freedom from slavery left them with no choice, but to seek jobs from former masters[5]. In other words, African Americans did not own land nor did they train to take up well-paying jobs. A few that had made it to the North found a relatively friendly industrial hub and was able to earn good life. The underlying reality was that mere breakaway from hard work in plantations did not end frustration of the former slaves. Lack of land, limited education and widespread social segregation plunged African American in a mess of persistent economic hurdles.

It is worth concluding that by 17th century, urbanization had begun to spread in Southern states courtesy of wealthy plantation owners that oppressed the African slaves. Service industry that included law, banking among others sprouted at the backdrop of simmering rebellion. The economy and social fabric of America changed significantly up to 1763 in the wake of Native born African America generation.

[1] William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, C. 1630, American Life In The

Seventeenth Century 1607–1692.p.74

[2] William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, C. 1630, American Life In The

Seventeenth Century 1607–1692.p.74

[3] Ibid.p.75

[4] William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, C. 1630, American Life In The

Seventeenth Century 1607–1692.p.75

[5] Ibid.p.76

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