At one end, the Blacks went through harrowing experiences for dear life, waking up to find that their color seemed to have determined their "being a lower form of animal" (Fiore 2004). In the process of escaping such traps, some Blacks learned that black could also be beautiful in other societies. Given opportunities to learn to speak and write, and get to mix with educated people, they learned that oppression was not a given, it need not come from their color, and learned to fight for their race and claim recognition. In the end, they too learned to fight on a higher level - on principles of justice, liberty, and patriotism (Ibid).
Blacks or Black Americans are African Americans also known as Afro-Americans, an ethnic group in the United States of America (Reference.com 2005). At various points in history, they were called Negroes, colored, Blacks and Afro-Americans. Afro-American is the preferred term popularized during the late 1960s by the Black power and Black pride movements (Ibid).
Blacks in the United States came from Africa, sold and traded and shipped to the American South from 1607 until the 19th century (Allen 2002). To import a slave was made illegal in 1807, but this was widely ignored. There were 3.5 million slaves in the Southern United States, and another 500,000 African Americans lived free across the country by 1860. A controversial issue in American society, slavery was the subject of abolitionist efforts that culminated in the 1860 election US President Abraham Lincoln. It was also one reason for the secession of the Confederate States of America leading to the American Civil War of 1861 to 1865 (Ibid).
In the United States, the Congress had passed the Fugitive Slave Act allowing runaway slaves in Britain to be returned to their former owners in the United States (Allen 2002). The Fugitive Act limited opportunities for runaway slaves to improve themselves, for fear of slave catchers. All slaves existing in the Confederacy were declared to be free under U.S by the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. But this excluded those in all territories that had not seceded. Ratified in 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution freed all slaves (Ibid).
To abolish slavery, the United States fought a Civil War but the prejudices still existed. The South created the Jim Crow laws making the Blacks the slaves to the White society. While the 14th and 15th Amendments passed by the US government gave basic freedoms to Black Americans, there were many loopholes in these Amendments (Fiore 2004). With a right to vote and to hold public office, and other civil rights denied them during Reconstruction, the Blacks lost all of these when Reconstruction ended in 1877. Southern white landowners gained the upperhand with their regime of racial segregation, lynching and other violence that they reinstituted (Allen 2002).
These conditions led to the Great Migration of the early 20th century coupled with a strengthening