Together as One!

Katelyn Stuart

The Beginning of Slavery

The horrors of slavery began in the early 1600's and was very popular throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Slaves were brought to America through the triangular trade. The triangular trade was a system used trade slaves, crops, and products among countries. This trade included, Africa, Britain, and America. Slaves were transported from Africa to America on slave ships. Slave ships were cramped, dirty ships used to trade slaves. Slaves were in high demand in the U.S. Working on a plantation was very labor intensive and required a lot of help. Having slaves speed up the work process and required less work for the slave owners. In the south, there were many more plantations. Southern states produced more crops, therefore requiring more slaves. Cotton plantations were common in the south. Picking cotton was a painstaking job which required hours of work to produce just one pound of lint. The cotton gin was then invented which impacted slavery dramatically. It freed slaves of the hard labor of separating seeds from the lint by hand. The cotton gin made cotton harvesting much quicker, but that increased the demand of cotton fabric from textile mills. That dramatically increased the need for slaves. Overall, the slave numbers went from approximately 700,000 before this invention, to more than three million in 1850. The growing southern economy was so depending on the slave system to keep the economy running.

Although our Declaration of Independence States that all men are created equal, that didn't apply to slaves. Slaves were not treated like human beings. Most slaves were often physically abused, which included whippings and other forms of punishment. Being a slave also took an emotional toll on a person. Owners yelled rude racial slurs and inappropriate names. Slaves were overworked and sleep-deprived. Most slaves worked from the time the sun rose, to the time the sun set. They had very little breaks throughout the day. Slaves would be beaten if they were caught trying to read or write. Slave owners wouldn't allow them to attend school because they thought if they had more knowledge, they could find ways to escape. Slave women were often forced to have children to produce more help. Slaves were considered property, meaning slave owners could do whatever they wanted to with them. This meant punishments of their choice. If a slave was caught trying to escape, they could be severely beaten or even put to death. Could you ever imagine living this way?

It wasn't until 1865 in which slavery was outlawed in America. The 13th Amendment made slavery illegal in the United States. There were many events leading up to the abolishing of slavery. In 1807, the British Parliament outlawed Britain's participation in the African Slave Trade. In 1808, the United States does the same thing. In 1822, segregated public schools for African Americans opened, allowing them to get an education. Anti-slavery groups were forming and protesting against the government. The north was strongly against slavery but allowed it to happen in the south. President Lincoln hated slavery but allowed it to go on in the south as long as it didn't spread to other states. Conflicts arose which caused our country to go into war against itself. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves.

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My Plan to Improve Race Relations

The United States of America has come a long way since slavery, but there is still more that needs to be done. Many people believe that races are still divided. There are debates on whether something was decided based on the race of the person. For example, some people believe that the police are only aggressive with African Americans or other races. We don't know for sure if this is true, but there are many cases of violence against blacks. People shouldn't feel scared of the police because their job is to protect us. Yes, the violence is an issue, but I believe that the main problem is that African Americans or other cultures do not feel safe because of their skin color.

The legacy of slavery has contributed to these racial tensions. Some African Americans believe that slavery is the reason for police brutality. We've liked to say we have moved on from slavery, but have we? Slavery or racial segregation will never exist in America but that doesn't mean there will never be racial tension. I believe we need to fix this problem. All races should be comfortable and feel safe living in America, where everybody is created equal. There should never be a question about are police being violent to African Americans. Together as one!

I have a plan to improve race relations in the United States. I want to create a museum honoring the great accomplishments of all our cultures throughout history. The brave people who suffered through slavery will be honored at this museum as well as other important racial movements in America. There will be a special exhibit to honor abolitionists and people who contributed to the outlaw of slavery. For example, Harriet Tubman, John Brown, President Lincoln and more. It will also recognize more recent events like Rosa Parks refusing to give up her bus seat, Martin Luther king during his anti-segregation movement, and even our first African American president! Once the museum is finished, we will try to get as many schools as possible to make the museum a required field trip. I believe that racial tension starts at a young age. Little children don't know what is right and what is wrong, so discriminating against other cultures is common. If we bring children in 1st or 2nd grade here, we can teach them that all men are created equally. I believe that this museum is a great way to honor and teach African American culture. The museum will be call "The African American Legacy."

Katelyn stuart