Repairing Race Relations

Sean Farmer

Slavery in America

Slavery began when European merchants began the Triangular Trade. This was the trading of goods between Europe, Africa, and America. Ships carrying goods sailed around the triangular pattern selling and collecting goods. Among the things being traded were men from Africa, captured and enslaved. Most of these "slaves" were sent to America. This was because the southern climate in the U. S. was perfect for growing crops, which meant more workers were needed in the fields on southern farms. Slavery was an issue, but things got even worse with the invention of the cotton gin. This cleaned the seeds out of the cotton, which meant more slaves were needed because more cotton could be processed quicker.


Slaves in America were treated poorly. It was bad enough that they were taken from their homes and forced to work for little or no pay, but the treatment of the slaves was terrible. They had no rights in America. They were given very little food and water. They could work 20 hour days, get a few hours off, but then wake up and do it again. The women were forced to have babies, and if any slave did not follow the orders of a master, they could be whipped or beaten to death. They could not read or write, and if they were working they could rarely talk. If they were caught trying to escape, they would most likely be hung or whipped to death. Possibly worst of all though, was when families were sold apart at slave auctions. When a mother was sold to a different owner than her children, there was nothing she could do. She would never see them again.


It took until 1865 for slavery to be illegal in the United States with the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This came after the Civil War ended and the North defeated the South. Even with their freedom from slavery, life did not get much better for African-Americans. Most left with no money and no family, no belongings and no home. Black Codes were created in the south where slavery was prevalent. These codes made it possible for store or restaurant owners to choose not to serve African-Americans. The discrimination remained so widespread in the south that African-Americans began boycotting businesses and peacefully protesting. With help from leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, they began to improve their rights and race relations in America.

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The Solution to Racism

There are still racial tensions in America today. Racism still exists in all parts of the country. Seemingly every week a news story emerges about a police shooting that occurred. A Caucasian police officer shooting and killing an African-American citizen for little or no reason. The ratio of white people with a certain job to black people with that same job is staggering. There are currently 4 African-American NFL coaches out of 32 teams, even though there is a majority of black players. The average white household makes over $57,000 a year, while the average black household makes just over $33,000 annually. Although slavery is over, America is far from done dealing with racial tensions.


The legacy of slavery has contributed to these racial tensions. The history of slavery will never be forgotten. Even today, the horrible things that took place during slavery affect race relations. For hundreds of years, African-Americans were treated as property, nothing more than something people bought and sold. Slavery is a part of our history. As a new country, we had slaves. Well into the 19th century it continued. We are still such a young country that a majority of our past remains clouded by this dark part of slavery. It may never be forgotten and be rarely forgiven, but racial tensions in the U.S. must end.


The idea I have to improve race relations in America is to make a Federal holiday for the day that Abraham Lincoln put into play the Emancipation Proclamation. On September 22, 1862, Abe said that if the south did not end their rebellion by the 1st of 1863, he would sign a document that made it illegal to own slaves in America. Since January 1st is already a holiday, my idea is to make September 22 Race Relations Day. This will be a day for celebrating traditions and customs of all races, as America is a country built from all types of people. Leaders of diverse groups will meet and on a 3 hour TV special discuss the great history of not individual races, but 1 race- humans.

Sean farmer