My people were brought to this country in 1619, to work for white people, and by 1661, Virginia had enacted the very first slave law. “By 1776, the year the United States declared its independence from Great Britain, slavery was legal in every state, and African Americans labored as slaves throughout the North as well as the South. ” (Social Probelms, Ch. 3, p. 65). From the beginning, my people were being subjected to a life of servitude. During the slave trade African American families were routinely split up for profit.
Can you imagine the effect that this had on the people, to have their families torn apart? African Americans had to do whatever they were told to do by their so called “masters” and if they did not as history tells us, they were whipped, beaten, and even hanged. It was said that “African Americans were not really people. ” (Social Problems, Ch. 3, p. 65). This is how a society that was supposed to be civilized viewed other human beings. Later, after slavery ended, African Americans continued to face prejudice and discrimination in their everyday lives.
African Americans were being denied their basic civil rights and institutional discrimination was the norm. African Americans were not allowed to go to school with whites, drink from the same water fountains, stay at the same hotels, eat at the same restaurants, vote, and had to give up their seat to white people on the bus. Proof of this can be seen in a ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States. “In the 1857 Dred Scott case, the U. S. Supreme Court stated that slaves were not citizens entitled to the rights and protections of U. S. law. ” This was backed up by segregation and Jim Crow laws. Social Problems, Ch. 3, p. 65). Some of the political, social, and cultural issues and concerns throughout American history for African Americans were gaining our freedom, civil rights, and equality for our people. Our people had been through so much and the fight to gain these things would take years, even today, the issue of equality seems to still not be settled as reflected in the wages paid to African Americans. The median pay of White men is $52,273, for woman it is $40,219. The median pay of Black men is $40,219, for woman it is $32,829.