Race Relations in America

Kate Zappitelli

Slavery in America

Slavery began when European merchants started the Triangular Trade. The Triangular Trade was a system where slaves, crop, and manufactures were traded between the American colonies, Africa, and England. Slaves were brought to American on large cargo ships that were transformed for the purpose of transporting slaves. People needed to use slaves because when they bought large plantations there was a lot of hard work that needed to be done. There was more slaves in the Southern part of the country because the South had a lot more plantations, crops, and larger growing season due to climate. When Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin slavery levels increased since more cotton was needed, more slaves were need to pick the cotton.


Slaves in America were treated poorly. Slaves worked 6 days a week and woke up when the sun rose and kept going well after the sun set. When slaves needed to be punished they would be harshly whipped by their master. Slaves were not allowed to read or write. It was good for women to be pregnant because that meant more slaves some women were even forced to be pregnant. Slaves were treated like property because they were bought and sold and were not considered citizens. Most of the time when slaves tried to run away they would be sold further South where it was a further run or there was harsher conditions.


It took until 1865 for slavery to be illegal in the United States with the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In 1776 the Constitution claims "All men are created equal" despite slavery remaining legal. In 1808 the importation of slaves became illegal meaning that slaves could only be traded throughout the states and not from other countries. In 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected president. In 1865 the Civil War was won and slavery was abolished. When Lincoln was first elected president all he wanted was to stop the spread of slavery but the Civil War eventually became a war to end slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation turned the Civil War into a war to end slavery when Lincoln issued the proclamation ordering that slaves in areas still in rebellion against the United States will be freed on January 1, 1863.

Plan to Improve Racial Relations

There are still racial tensions in America today. One of the problems is the media. When TV shows feature an African American and a Caucasian family, most of the time the Caucasian family is higher class, richer, and has smart kids. The African American family usually has troubled kids or aren't as wealthy. Another problem is with police. When police officers see African American teens they usually get suspicious and think they are doing something wrong. Also in stores some workers will assume that the African Americans are going to shop lift because of stereotyping and will follow them around the store.


The legacy of slavery has contributed to these racial tensions. African-Americans remember there people or ancestors being treated as property, whipped, killed, and being treated differently for their skin and they're upset and have the right to be. People whose ancestors owned slaves may have had the thoughts of racism passed through their family and have never had a parent or adult tell them that it's wrong. When people learn about the horrors of slavery they should be upset and disgusted by it but some people ignore it and don't bother to pay attention.


The one idea I have to improve race relations in America is to produce a documentary like program where teens and kids talk about racial profiling. The program would have a few different segments. One segment would be teens in America talking about there bullying experiences that involve racial profiling. This segment would be to show people how their words of racism can hurt people. Another segment would be younger kids talking about what they know about slavery and racism. The point of that would be to show that many younger kids need to be better educated on the topic. The final segment would be a history lesson for the younger kids and then a talk with them after to show how much more they learned .