African American

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Black History in the United States began when the first African indentured servants and slaves were brought west in the early seventeenth century. They were forced to do back-breaking labor on plantations and separated from their homes and families. Despite their unjust inferior status, they fought against Great Britain in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and against the Confederate South in the Civil War. During the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves in Confederate states and territories. Then at the end of the war, the 13th Amendment was ratified, freeing all slaves in the United States. Though they had freedom on paper, African Americans faced significant discrimination in the workplace, the education system, and the political and social spheres. In the South, they suffered under the discriminatory Jim Crow laws that kept them segregated in all public places. In the mid-1950s, the civil rights movement began in earnest, and African Americans protested across the United States until the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. Though this improved their position in American society, African Americans still face prejudice and discrimination today.

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Source Information

Fold3, African American (/collection/african-american : accessed January 17, 2021), database and images,

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