Improving Race Relations in America

Written by: Sam Bostelman

Slavery in America

Slavery began when European merchants started the triangle trade. The triangle trade went from Europe, to Africa, and finally to the New World. Slaves from Africa were shipped to the Americas on slave ships as a part of this trade. Slave ships had very poor conditions, and often diseases spread to the new slaves on board. Many slaves died on their way to the New World, on the slave ships. Typically, when someone would die they would leave them there until they were ashore at the New World. Then they would dispose of the bodies. The Americas would give molasses, rum, sugar, and tobacco to Europe. Finally, Europe would give guns to Africa. The Triangle Trade would last until 1807, when it became illegal in the United States.

Slaves in America were treated very poorly. The slaves were treated as property, not human beings, so this meant they could be sold, traded, and treated however their owner, or master, wanted to treat them. Many people were sold away from their families. Slaves would work from dawn until dusk with no breaks. After they would work they would often have to dance and do other amusing things for their masters entertainment. They only had one very small meal a day, but some would have a very small breakfast, if they were lucky. While in the fields there was an overseer who would lash them with a whip if they were not picking fast enough. If slaves did not do what they were supposed to do sometimes they would have very harsh whippings. Slaves were not treated very well in America.

It took until 1865 for slavery to be illegal in the United States with the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Slavery was a very big deal because many people believed it was wrong and should be abolished, they were the Northern states also called The Union. The Southern states believed slavery was a good thing and should be continued, they were the Confederate States of America. The Civil war between the North and the South lasted four years. Slavery was abolished once and for all in the United States, but there were still many people who did not treat the African American people equal.

My Plan to Improve Race Relations

There are still many racial tensions in America today. Even after slavery was abolished African Americans were discriminated against. There were special restaurants, drinking fountains, bathrooms, and even schools for colored people. They were not aloud to go to or use anything white people used. This was until Many black people began to get mad about the idea that they were different. After a while there were laws and amendment made about these topics, but many people still stereotype that an African American will commit a crime or do something bad. Some policemen watch black people closely than white people. Many people also making very rude comments still about slavery and African American people. This makes many people feel unwelcome or discriminated.

The legacy of slavery has contributed to many of these tensions. It is hard for people to forget the history of slavery because that is how there people were once treated. This relates to how many Jewish people were killed and put in concentration camps, yet many Jews are still uneasy about this topic because that is how their ancestors and people were treated. African Americans should be mad about this because they used to not even be considered a full person! Also, their ancestors could have been kidnapped and brought to the United States. They probably think about "What if I was born during that time, and I got kidnapped and forced to come to America?" It would be very hard to live in those conditions. Many black people are still discriminated against to this day.

One idea that I have to improve race relations in making a talk show to air on TV on Wednesdays at 9 pm on PBS. Oprah would be the host. It would start with her sitting in a chair having a discussion with a small child. She would have a discussion on what they think being racist is, and ask them if they have every been discriminated against. The children then would talk about what they believe it is. This show will be an hour long with 3-4 child guests every show. Then Oprah would give them a lecture about how they are unique people, and they were born with the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. I believe that this would help because if enough people saw it they would start to act better and not discriminate people because of how they look, act, or believe. They would hear the real stories of children in America.


Sam Bostelman

I am a student at mentor schools, and I am involved in many activities. This is a project from my History class. I hope you enjoyed it!