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There Is No Such Thing as Rest - Essay Example

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The history of slavery in America goes back to the times of its discovery by Christopher Columbus in early 16th century. The discovery was followed by the invasion led by Spanish, British and French rulers who wanted to exploit the vast wealth of new world. They also brought shipload of African slaves so that could have free labor to work on the fields and do other menial work. African tribal were initially captured from west coast of Africa and later traded as slaves in the European market (Sylvester, 1998). They were skilled farmers and were also known for their art work on metal and wood. Europeans exploited them by making them slaves and using their skilled labor for free. Hence, when they were short of farm laborers in America, African slaves were brought to America, thereby starting the tradition of slavery in America. For centuries, whites have been enjoying free labor of slaves and have become used to treating the blacks as second class citizens. Slavery was made into a full fledged tradition with Africans and non whites becoming slaves for life. They were deprived of their rights to live in dignity vis-a-vis fair living condition, food and education. When native population or American Indians as they were known as, started to rebel, control over blacks became the major concern for the Whites. The conflict escalated into the famous 7 years war which finally concluded into American Revolution. Mantios (1995) asserts that American Revolution became the catalyst for the abolition of slavery (Mantsios, 1995). American Revolution was significant because it laid the foundation for free democratic America, which promoted empowerment of the people. The historical event also brought in new political system of democracy where people became the supreme power. Abraham Lincoln was the first President of free America who introduced vital social reforms through his ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ of slaves (Lincoln, nd). Though, the changes were minimal at the beginning but the proclamation had given a hope to the blacks. Their interests and welfare were brought to the forefront of American polity through mass movement by Martin Luther King Jr. In late twentieth century, he garnered huge public support that paved way for The Civil Rights Act of 1964. The African Americans, Native Americans and other non white population were finally recognized as citizens with equal rights through constitution and allowed to work along with whites. Unfortunately, the long tradition of slavery and racial prejudice against blacks has become a major challenge for the constitution to implement the equal right clause across the mainstream society. Within the American society, the racial discrimination is still practiced subtly by white population. Most importantly, the blacks and ethnic minorities still have to fight for their rights and struggle to avail benefits that are enjoyed by the mainstream society. Angelou (1969) argues that the slavery has become more covert because of lack of education and opportunities for black population. ‘.. white girls learned to waltz….. During the tenth year, a white woman’s kitchen became my finishing school’ ...Show more
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The case narrative, ‘There is no such thing as rest’ is an autobiographical account of Solomon Northrup’s life as a slave. The author was free Afro American who was living a contented life with his wife and children when he was kidnapped in 1841. He had to work as slave in the cotton fields of Louisiana for twelve years before he was released in 1853 after concerted efforts by his family and New York’s governor…
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