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The Beginnings of African American Literature 1517 to 1875 A.D.

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Presentation on theme: "The Beginnings of African American Literature 1517 to 1875 A.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Beginnings of African American Literature 1517 to 1875 A.D.

2 Slavery in the New World 1517 – Bartolome de las Casas (Spanish Missionary) Recommended that Africans be imported to Spanish colonies to relieve the overworked Indians. Slavery existed throughout the ancient world; Africa also had widespread enslavement of those conquered in the wars there too. Europeans of the 16 th and 17 th centuries introduced the idea of enslavement as the natural and proper condition for particular RACES of people. Because of their physical and cultural differences from Europeans, Africans were presumed to be mentally and morally inferior.

3 Middle Passage The first Africans in British North America were brought to work as laborers; they arrived in 1619 at Jamestown, Virginia. Only 20 in number, including at least 3 women, of these people had survived the horrendous first middle passage. A voyage so harsh that it is estimated that 1 in 8 Africans die in transit without ever reaching the slave markets of the New World. Slave Ships is another term for this excruciating voyage. Black Explorers, not slaves, were the first to the New world Estevanico - Opened up what is now New Mexico and Arizona for Spanish settlement Jean Baptiste Point du Sable - Founded a trading post on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, from which the city of Chicago grew.

4 Indentured Servants to Chattel Slavery 1700 – Growing plantation economy of Virginia demanded a work force that was cheaper than free labor and more easily controlled. Chattel Slavery – Is when a black person became not just a temporary servant but the lifetime property of his or her white master. With this the tobacco, cotton and rice planters of British North America ensured their rise to economic and political pre-eminence over what would become the United States.

5 1776 More than a year after the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, many representatives of the Southern planter elite joined with delegates from the North American colonies to debate a Declaration of Independence from England. This is one of histories greatest ironies that while these men were justifying their revolution against England by claiming the inalienable rights of humankind to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness they denied the same rights to black Americans. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and James Madison – what did they all have in common outside of American presidency??

6 1800s More than a million African Americans lived in the United States, making up about 20% of the total population. The states of the North eventually abolished slavery, but the blacks who lived there still had to endure much racial discrimination and injustice. The states of the South, where the large majority of black people lived, SLAVERY FLOURISHED!! Abolitionists – Demanded the immediate abolition of slavery throughout the United States and its territories. Led by William Lloyd Garrison American Anti-Slavery Society

7 1830 to 1865: Dawn of a new genre of literature Introduction of 2 great themes of African American literature: Institution of slavery Destiny of blacks in freedom Abolitionists began interviewing black runaways from the South while helping them get to the North or to Canada on the Underground Railroad. Anti-slavery newspapers, platform speakers, and autobiographies Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, & James Pennington Traveled thousands of miles in the U.S. raising money and creating a tide of opposition to American slavery. Their autobiographies sold in the tens of thousands, making them international best-sellers in their own time.

8 CIVIL WAR!! April 12, 1861 South Carolina bombarded Federal troops at Fort Sumter in Charleston, NC Abraham Lincoln, having just been elected president in 1860, issued a call for 75,000 volunteers to help put down the Southern Rebellion. African Americans played an increasingly important role in the Union army. They had to wait until 1862 before they were allowed by Lincoln to form regiments. After capturing Jacksonville, FL in March of 1863, Lincoln called for a full-scale recruitment of black soldiers for the army. By the wars end more than 186,000 blacks had served in the artillery, cavalry, engineers, and infantry as well as the United States Navy. More than 38,000 African Americans gave their lives for the Union cause.

9 Emancipation… Free at Last?? September of 1862 – Emancipation Proclamation by Lincoln Declared all slaves in the rebellious states to be free as of January 1, 1863 Final surrender of General Lee, who led the Confederate Army, occurred at Appomattox on April 9 th, December 6 th, 1865, the 13 th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude throughout the country, was ratified by the new UNITED States of America.

10 Frederick Douglass & Sojourner Truth Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845) Gave its readers not only a remarkably accurate picture of slavery but also a compelling portrait of African American humanity. Spoke from the perspective of an I-witness to slavery and its brutality as well as the selfhood of slavery. Aint I a Women? (1851) Formerly enslaved women spoke and wrote of their equally heroic efforts to preserve their self respect as women in spite of slaverys attempts to turn them into its helpless, hopeless victims. Urged white women to take a stand against slavery, regardless of those who would condemn such public activism as unladylike. Influenced Harriet Tubman to become the fearless and successful conductor of runaways along the Underground Railroad. She became known as the Moses of her People.

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