Term Paper: English 2nd Lang) I Was Most Affected

Pages: 3 (978 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Race  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … English 2nd Lang)

I was most affected by the entire episode of American Slavery and the fact that institutionalized racist policies against African-Americans lasted and were so bitterly contested for so long in American history. Prior to the course, I was only aware that there was a period in early American history when African blacks had been exploited as human slaves and that there was segregation before the Civil Rights era in the 1960s. I did not think about it in detail or realize how long it lasted, how many lives it affected, and how brutal it was. I had known that the American Civil War was fought largely over slavery but I did not realize how much political negotiation was involved over it for so long before the Civil War; it was thought-provoking to realize that the slavery issue played such a great role in the admission of states to the Union.

Likewise, I had believed that the living conditions of American blacks must have improved beginning after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. It was shocking to me to learn that black people were still preventing from getting the rights they were supposed to have after 1865 by such organized illegal actions in so many states. I knew that the Ku Klux Klan existed as a racist group during the late 19th and early 20th century, but I was not aware that they had millions of members early in the 20th century and it was very disturbing to learn that they marched in large numbers in a parade right in front of the White House. It made me realize that what happened in Nazi Germany before and during the Second World War could have occurred in the United States just as easily under slightly different circumstances.

For decades after the Emancipation Proclamation, local and state governments throughout the former slave states enacted what Martin Luther King Jr. called immoral laws. The purpose of those laws was to prevent the former slaves from enjoying any of the rights they were supposed to get after the Civil War. "Jim Crow" laws prohibited blacks from voting and from owning property and even the American federal government discriminated in many ways against blacks. Only very recently, the U.S. federal government admitted that it had illegally refused loans to black farmers throughout the early and mid 20th century because of their race. Prior to this course, I was unaware that government authorities continued racist policies for so long and well into the middle of the 20th century.

In many parts of the world, footage of the American civil rights era is viewed in a different context that is highly inaccurate. Without explanation, many of the scenes of police fighting protestors can be perceived as the police defending themselves against protestors or responding to rioting. I recognized some of the same pieces of footage and descriptions of events in this course as… [END OF PREVIEW]

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