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Class, Race and Gender in American History

Class, Race and Gender in American History


“The United States government’s support of slavery was based on an overpowering practicality.” (Zinn 171) Before America even had a history it was busy creating a lower ethnic class for it to look down on. To work the fields and other low wage high risk jobs. To be there when a scapegoat was needed but to be as separate as could be maintained at all times. The history of black people in the United States begins with slavery. African Americans were seen not just as a lower class of people, but simply as property, creating a struggle for equality that may never end. Slaves were subjected to the poorest of living conditions, whippings not uncommon, and often having tight knit families, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons split when sold apart from each other. Early slave resistance was often to the effect of stealing property, sabotage, running away or just working slowly but sometimes went as far as killing masters or overseers and burning down buildings. In some instances masters were fast to try and remove themselves from this by making lower class whites overseers hoping they would bare the brunt of the slave’s anger (Zinn 177). The United States would eventually give into the great pressure placed on it to abolish slavery, but not without a war.

With slavery ended black and white people were able to live together as equals. Some would say that this is still not fact. After slavery oppression of black people did not end. While slavery remained in the memories of African Americans discrimination was constant and as accepted in the society as much as slavery had been in years previous. Black people still lived in fear from race related violence and lynching like a slave owner relationship. In the 1930’s some African Americans began to align themselves with the Communist party. The communist party had long pointed out the inequalities of race even if they were accused of doing it for their own purposes. Those black people aligning themselves with the Communist party did not do so simply because they obviously needed the help and admired the parties ability in organizing rallies and protests (Zinn 447). Of course the union of the black men at the time to communism put a new even more frightening idea of the young militant black in everyone’s mind more than ever...

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Category:   Discrimination

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