Race Relations In The South Essay

2650 words - 11 pages

Slavery has existed in one form or another for centuries and in some places in the world it still exists today. In most places slavery is a way of life and there is nothing that can be done about it, and in southern America that was the case too for over three hundred years. During that period many people fought against slavery and tried to get it abolished from the country, but little did they know how long and how brutal the fight would be. Even after slavery was abolished by the thirteenth amendment in 1865, the African American and some European people suffered even harder times than they did during the years of slavery. After slavery was abolished a few years later the Jim Crow laws were introduced in the south, making it nearly impossible for African Americans to live a free life, and these laws would eventually shape the race relations in the south for several years to come. The Jim Crow laws made African Americans second class citizens to the white people of the south. Even though slavery was abolished in the south, these laws made sure that African Americans were not able to enjoy their new found freedom. These laws were implemented by white community to make sure that they kept the power that they once had over the African Americans, because they were afraid of what might happen if they gain power. The white people in the south were successful in doing so for almost eighty years.
In order to understand why the African American population was treated like second class citizens during the Jim Crow Era, it is important to understand why slavery started in the south. Slaves were first brought to the United States in the early 17th century from Africa, because they were cheaper and could provide plentiful amounts of labor for the owners of plantations in the south. After 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 Africans ashore at the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia slavery spread throughout the American colonies. Some historians have estimated that 6 to 7 million slaves were imported to the New World. (Slavery in America).
The Africans were first treated as indentured servants, but as time progressed they were eventually classified as slaves, which meant that they were owned. Early on slaves in the South worked primarily in agriculture, on farms and plantations growing indigo, rice, and tobacco; cotton also became a major crop after the 1790’s (Asaolu 132). With the economic boom of agriculture in the south, owners of plantations needed a way to get a larger number of workers. This was the main start of the slave trade, in which big ships would carry slaves from Europe to America. The slaves were forced to “relocate far from everyone and everything they knew” (Kolchin 96). These slaves worked on plantations and farms for three hundred years under extremely harsh conditions and against their own will. They would work almost an entire day and if they refused to do so they were punished severely. According to historian David Davis “the...

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