Before the Civil War, Africans in America perceive freedom as the ability to follow their traditions, beliefs, and customs that were stripped away from them the moment they stepped inside the U.S. continent. During those times, even their names were taken away from them. They are not allowed to speak their language or to practice anything un-American. All of them unconsciously underwent the process to de-Africanize, which can rather be brutal. Therefore the freedom to be who they really are, was immediately lost.
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Come the Pre-Civil War area, the way African-Americans view freedom slightly changed. They have been slaves of their masters all their lives. They do not own anything, not even their own self. Instead, they are sold, transferred, or are given away by their masters anytime they so wishes. At this point in time, African-Americans regard freedom as the ability to live a life of their own, to own a property, and to take control of their very existence. Slavery is something most of them would like to break out of.
After the Civil War, which is the war that is supposed to have ended slavery, African-Americans was presented a different battle to face. Majority of the white race do not agree to the idea of freeing the blacks. So in their desire to retaliate the effects of the Civil War, terrorism against the blacks became widespread. The view of freedom, again, had changed. It had become to be the need to live peacefully and harmoniously with the white race.
And it has been that way since. Although laws and policies were made to protect the blacks, specifically the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, racial discrimination was prevalent. Segregation had been an issue in schools, in public places, and in the society in general.
It was during those times that the African-Americans began to strive, to unite, and to stand up for their rights, as they have done so quite successfully so far. African-Americans, through the course of history, had fruitfully achieved a change in their status. They were once slaveswho do not even have a name. But they were able to break free from slavery’s clutches and had become liberated.
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As they have transcended to become citizens, they are faced with a different challenge – a challenge to seek equality with the predominant white race. Although this isa paramount task, slowly, but effectively, African-Americans were able to attain the sweet equality they are all fighting for. They started with small protests and movements. Then they took it to the courts and acquired judicial support. They had effectively attained social recognition with the help of great black leaders such as Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins, Sr., and Whitney Young, among others
It is therefore important to look back and study African-American history because it has been a triumphant showcase of what unity, perseverance, and courage can bring about. The African-American history is a story of achievement, not just of a single person, but that of a whole race. Their change, from slavery, to second-class citizens, then finally to becoming a significant group of people, who are a part of a dominant country, cannot be left ignored. With history, the people who had offered their lives for that cause will be well remembered and duly recognized. Studying history can be a form of honor for all of them, who had once disregarded themselves, their own interests, and their own welfare, in favor of the many.
Studying what the African-American race had gone through over time teaches the next generation that transformation can happen. It has been done before. It can be done still. And that the key elements needed are unity, resolve, and strength. History can repeat itself. One of the aims of studying history is get the younger generation informed of the wrong things performed in the past, in the hope that it will not be repeated again in the future. But it could be adapted the other way around – that the excellent things, which happened in the past, serve as motivation and inspiration to bring forth a lot of outstanding things to happen in the future.See More on African, American