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Racism in America

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Racism in America

The question should be how did racism in America begin? I think that it is probably fair to say that racism began with the Middle passage. The Middle Passage was the slave ships that brought African Americans to America from Africa. The slaves were perceived as being less than human fit for labor, bondage and beatings. Their only function was to be brought to America to work in the cotton fields and build America up to the standards that the Caucasian Americans expected. Slaves were usually fed straps from their Masters tables, given ragedy clothes to wear, they worked from sun up until sun down, and they were not paid. They were beaten if they talked backed back to the Master or did not produce the labor that was required by the Master. The Caucasian by all accounts was thought to be superior and better than slaves were because they owned the land, crops, plantations and houses; the poor slave did not own anything. What did the slave ship look like? Slaves were placed at the bottom of the ship; then men, women and children were chained to one another. With very little movement possible, they suffered and many of them died. This was not an easy voyage. The voyages to America from Africa took months and people got very little air in the bottom of these ships. They were fed but they had to eat lying down in chains and they were fed worst than animals. They were allowed on the deck occasionally where they were washed with water that was poured on them. Many Africans committed suicide or were thrown overboard when they became sick or retaliated against their treatment.

Moving ahead in years President Lincoln Issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 and slavery ended. Slaves were very happy to be free but many of them did not have any property or education to begin life with freedom. Many Caucasian Americans did not like the idea that African Americans were free, so they organized a group of nightriders, which later became the Ku Klux Klan. These nightriders terrorized African Americans by burning their churches, houses, and schools. They also started a law that was referred to as Jim Crow, which was the name of a silly character in Black face. These laws caused segregation and lynchings against African Americans for years, up until the late 1960’s in Southern states. Many Caucasians continued to feel privileged and superior to African Americans and Jim Crow made it all possible. Many Caucasian Americans believed that everything should be separate the schools, restaurants, bathrooms, schools, houses of worship, neighborhoods, etcetera. In some cases, African Americans felt that segregation in America was inevitable and that is why in Tulsa, Oklahoma African Americans formed their own town; with businesses, houses of worship, houses, and schools. This town was referred to as the Black Wall Street. Some Caucasians became so jealous and outraged by the African Americans ability to stand on their own they bombed the town from the air and on the ground. Over 3,000 African Americans lost their lives during this violence. The period was June 21, 1921 and this violent uprising took less than 12 hours to destroy an entire town (What Happened to Black Wall Street on June 21, 1921?, 2011). There were many atrocities against African Americans in America after slavery. Racism continued years and years after slavery. There are some Caucasians in America that did not want minorities to have equal rights and that mindset causes racism to continue. Moving ahead again in years to August of 1955, Emmett Louis Till was a 14 year old who visited relatives in Mississippi from Chicago. Emmett Till was accused of whistling at a white woman, he was taken from his relatives’ home in the middle of the night; beaten and lynched by a Caucasian mob. His body sank to the bottom of the Tallahatchie River (Hanev, 2000-2013). In 1956, Rosa Parks sat in the colored only section of a bus in Montgomery Alabama. The bus was crowded and the all white section was full a white man asked for Mrs. Parks for her seat. Mrs. Parks was tired and refused to give her seat up she was taken to jail. This began the bus boycotts in Montgomery. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began the boycotts that continued with Black people refusing to ride the buses for 369 days. The result was the desegregation of buses in Montgomery, Alabama on December 21, 1956 (Hanev, 2000-2013). In 1957, The Little Rock Nine attended the all white Central High school in Little Rock Arkansas. The National Guard was called in to escort The Little Rock Nine at gunpoint, because of the threats on their lives by fellow White rascist students. On February 1960, four African American students staged a sit in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter because of their refusal to serve Blacks (Hanev, 2000-2013). On October 1, 1962 James Meredith became the first African American to enter the University of Mississippi; his entrance sparked a great deal of violence. The violence became severe enough for President Kennedy to send 5,000 troops to Mississippi to protect James Meredith. He was later hospitalized because he was shot and wounded while attending Columbia University in New York City for his law degree. Medgar Evers was shot and killed outside of his own home on June 11, 1963 in Mississippi (Hanev, 2000-2013). It took 30 years of litigation from Mrs. Evers fighting for Byron De La Beckwith to be convicted for the murder. In August of 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King led a march in Washington D.C., 250,000 people attended. The topic of the march was for jobs and freedom for African Americans (Hanev, 2000-2013). In June of 1964, 3 Civil Rights workers were murdered, two were Caucasian and one was African American. They were hunted down by a Caucasian mob in the middle of the night and lynched. This was proof that some Caucasians refused to give in to racism in America (Hanev, 2000-2013). There were many more cases of racism that were recorded and unrecorded. Racism has threatened to destroy our nation and what America stands for, liberty and justice for all. Minorities continue to be discriminated against in this country by Caucasians, but the situation has become much better now that we have an African American president. On July 26, 1981, President Truman signed an order that stated all people would be treated equally and fairly regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin. This was a major milestone in history that moved toward equal rights for all minorities. Some Americans are forgetting this order that was signed by President Truman (Hanev, 2000-2013). Some immigrants are not being allowed entrance into America and they are still discriminated against when they arrive in America. The NAACP stands for The National Association for The Advancement of Colored People and the organization was formed due to racial inequality in America. When the organization began, African Americans were referred to as the “N” word or as colored. African Americans in this country have been referred to, as Negro, Black, and Afro American since the NAACP began, but their name remains the same. The name of the organization is not as important as the many accomplishments that they have made and the protection that they have provided African Americans with during very difficult times of discrimination in America. The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909. It is America’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized civil rights organization (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). The original group that founded the organization was not African Americans but, were Caucasian liberals. They consisted of Mary White Ovington, and Oswald Garrison Villard; both were descendants of abolitionists (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). William English Walling and Dr. Henry Mascowitz called a meeting for racial justice. For such a cause in those days, this group was very brave because racial equality did not exist in America at this time (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). The organization was begun because there had been incidences of horrific lynching’s and race riots in Springfield Illinois, which was where President Abraham Lincoln was laid to rest (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). This was appalling and insulting to Abraham Lincoln’s legacy, because he ended slavery by signing The Emancipation Proclamation. Later on others joined the NAACP, who were African American i.e., W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell, who were all very educated African Americans. Many other famous African Americans joined the organization. In 1920, James Weldon Johnson became the first African American secretary of the NAACP, he was a writer and he wrote the words to the African American National Anthem (Lift Every Voice) (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). Louis T Wright an African American surgeon was named chairperson of the board of directors in 1934 (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). One historical name worth mentioning is Walter B. White, because looking at him no one would have known that he was African American. He was so fair skinned that he looked Caucasian. For this reason, he was used as a spy to attend Ku Klux Klan meetings and report to the NAACP about the Klan’s plans against African Americans; this included future lynchings against African Americans. White later became the secretary of the NAACP when Weldon stepped down in 1930 (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). The mission of the NAACP continues to ensure and provide political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate discrimination that is based on race (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). The NAACP’s main goal is to make sure that we are a society that allows all individuals have equal rights regardless of race (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). The NAACP has stood strong for 100 years helping African Americans with some of the most extreme cases of racial inequality.
The objectives are on the first page of the NAACP constitution. The objectives are to ensure political, social, educational and economic equality of all citizens (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013) (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). Initially the NAACP was primarily for the equality of African Americans, but as the organization evolved over the years they began to fight for all people who were discriminated against; women and immigrants are alsoin that group. To achieve quality of rights and eliminate racial discrimination among the citizens of the United states is also an objective. To remove all barriers of racial discrimination through democratic processes is an objective that is on the first page of the constituion. Our president Obama is proof that political and democrtaic barriers are disappearing. Wouldn’t some of the forefathers of the NAACP be proud (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). To seek enactment and enforcement of federal, state, and local laws securing civil rights are goals of the NAACP (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). Finally To inform the public of the adverse effects of racial discrimination and seek its elimination (NAACP:100 Years of History, 2009-2013). The NAACP has memberships for all who are interested in joining. The benefits that the organization has offered and continue to offer are endless.

Brunner, B. (2000-2013). The Murder of Emmett Till A "grotesque miscarraige of justice". infoplease.
Hanev, B. B. (2000-2013). Civil Rigts Timeline Milestones in the Modern Civil Rigts Movement. infoplease.
Rosa Louise Parks. (200-2013). infoplease.
What Happened to Black Wall Street on June 21, 1921? (2011). Bay View.
Jim Crow Stories. (2002). The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.
NAACP. (2000-2013). History Learning Site.
NAACP:100 Years of History. (2009-2013). NAACP www.NAACP.ORG.

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