Presentation on theme: "Pre–Civil Rights Events in African American History Slavery Slave Rebellions Underground Railroad Emancipation."— Presentation transcript:
Pre–Civil Rights Events in African American History Slavery Slave Rebellions Underground Railroad Emancipation
Slave Trade Although trade in enslaved persons dates back to ancient times, it was not extensively used until the Atlantic trade between 1520 and 1870. The Atlantic slave trade was marked by its westward direction, huge volume, long duration of crossing, and racial character.
Slave Trade Dutch, French, and English colonization in the Americas opened new markets for slave traders. The practice of importing slave labor from distant Africa sprang from the colonists’ failure to develop a work force among Native Americans and white immigrants. Finding that Africans were relatively immune to tropical diseases, the colonists rationalized slavery on the grounds that Africans were racially inferior.slavery
Slave Trade The Atlantic slave trade became part of a prosperous trading cycle known as the triangular trade. In the first leg of the triangle, European merchants purchased African enslaved people with commodities manufactured in Europe or imported from European colonies in Asia. Europeans then sold the enslaved persons in the Caribbean and purchased such easily transportable commodities as sugar, cotton, and tobacco.
Slave Trade Finally, the merchants would sell these goods in Europe and North America. They would use the profits from these sales to purchase more goods to trade in Africa, continuing the cycle. The voyage from the African coast to the Americas was called the Middle Passage. On average, 16 percent of the enslaved people—men, women, and children—died at sea.
Slave Trade The typical ocean crossing lasted from 25 to 60 days, depending on origin, destination, and winds. Captains kept enslaved persons chained all day and all night below deck except for brief periods of exercise. The spaces below deck were only four or five feet high.
Slave Trade Shipboard hygiene was very primitive. Captains made little effort to guard food and water from contamination. Sanitary facilities were inadequate, and slave ships harbored a wealth of disease. Scene in the Hold of the “Blood-Stained Gloria.” (Middle Passage.) Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-US262-30818.]
Slave Trade Ending the slave trade was a long process that involved changing economic circumstances and rising humanitarian concerns. By the 1700s slavery had become a recognized and generally accepted institution in colonial America, particularly in the Southern Colonies, where the labor of thousands of enslaved Africans played a vital role in the growth of the plantation economy.
Slavery The spread of the U.S. cotton industry—following the invention of the cotton gin in 1793—sharply increased the demand for enslaved labor. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZCZ-22802.]
Slavery There emerged a vast slave empire in the South, which expanded as Southerners moved west. By the Civil War, the United States held almost 4 million enslaved persons who were confined almost entirely to the South.
Slavery The quality of relationship between the slave holder and enslaved person varied from place to place. Enslaved people tried to improve their conditions, sometimes by running away or striking back. More often, though, they focused on their families, friends, and churches. Enslaved people faced a variety of experiences in the Americas. Nearly all involved heavy physical labor, poor housing, and insufficient medical care.
Slavery Plantation conditions in the southern United States had the highest mortality rates of any other United States industry of the time period. Slave Plantation Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Civil War Photographs, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-B8184-3287.]
Slavery Enslaved people had no privacy in their own quarters. Slaveholders repeatedly interfered. Some slaveholders subjected enslaved people to meaningless rules and frequently resorted to the lash as punishment for minor infractions. Sometimes slaveholders also separated family members and ensured that slaves had few legal rights.
Slavery In 1857, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Dred Scott v. Sandford that African Americans were not citizens and thus could not sue in court.Dred Scott v. Sandford In 1834 Dred Scott, an enslaved person, had been taken to a free state and then free territory. Later his slaveholder returned him to Missouri, a slaveholding state. Scott sued for his freedom in 1846, saying his residence in a free state and free territory made him free.
Slavery Chief Justice Taney declared that as a slave Scott was not a U.S. citizen. Taney and six justices went on to declare that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional because Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in the territories.Missouri Compromise The decision, a clear victory for the South, increased Northern antislavery sentiment and strengthened the sectional strife that led to the Civil War.
Slavery From the late 1840s, the controversy over slavery increasingly dominated national politics. Finally, Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency in 1860 plunged the country into a secession crisis and civil war as Southern politicians defended the practice of slavery.
Slave Rebellions Resistance was a constant feature in the days of slavery. It took on many forms, from individual acts of sabotage, poor work, faking illness, committing crimes like arson and poisoning, or trying to escape by running away to the North. The most dramatic instances were outright slave rebellions.
Slave Rebellions The most notable slave rebellion in American history, organized by Nat Turner, took place in Southhampton County, Virginia. Born into slavery in 1800, Turner was a preacher and a spiritualist. In the 1820s, he began to see visions in the sky: black and white angels fighting, the heavens running red with blood. He became convinced that he had been chosen by God to lead his people to freedom.
Slave Rebellions In August 1831, Turner and a group of followers launched a rebellion. By the time the state militia suppressed the uprising, approximately 60 enslaved people had joined the rebellion and at least 55 whites lay dead. A wave of terror swept over the state. Many innocent African Americans were killed by bands of vigilantes.
Slave Rebellions Turner himself escaped and remained at large for several weeks, but eventually he was captured and executed. In the aftermath of the rebellion, Virginia’s legislature debated the gradual abolition of slavery due to the threat to public order. Instead, Virginia’s legislature tightened slave codes that further limited African Americans’ freedom of movement. These codes made it illegal for preachers to conduct services without a white being present, staving off future rebellions.
Underground Railroad The Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad, but a secret network of safe houses and antislavery activists (including African Americans, whites, and Native Americans) who helped enslaved people escape to freedom.Underground Railroad Though never formally organized, tens of thousands of enslaved people, aided by more than 3,200 railroad “workers,” escaped through this network to the Northern states, Canada, Texas, Mexico, and through Florida to the Caribbean.
Underground Railroad The Underground Railroad was operating as early as the 1500s, when the first African captives were brought to the Spanish colonies. However, its activity peaked between 1830 and 1860. In the Americas, much of the Railroad’s history was passed down orally through generations. Not only were many of the enslaved people that made the journey illiterate, but those who aided them did not write about it, or destroyed their records, because they feared detection.
Underground Railroad Enslaved people typically had to travel many hundreds of miles—through woods, over fields, and across rivers—to reach freedom. Often they traveled at night to avoid detection, using the North Star as a compass. Since they could carry little food, they had to make their journey weakened by hunger. Runaways sometimes wore disguises. Females would dress as males; males as females. Some pretended to deliver messages or goods for their masters.
Underground Railroad The homes and businesses where runaways could rest and eat were called “stations” and were run by “stationmasters.” Those who contributed money or goods were “stockholders” and the “conductor” moved the runaways from one station to the next. The fugitive slaves were known as “freight.” Workers on the Underground Railroad represented all levels of society—they were ministers, shopkeepers, farmers, and former slaves.
Underground Railroad Harriet Tubman, a runaway from Maryland, made at least 19 trips into the South and helped to rescue more than 300 enslaved people. Harriet Tubman Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62- 7816.]
Underground Railroad The term "Underground Railroad" may have originated when an enslaved person, Tice Davids, fled from Kentucky and took refuge with John Rankin, a white abolitionist in Ripley, Ohio."Underground Railroad" Davids’s slaveholder chased him all the way to the Ohio River, but Davids managed to disappear without a trace. His slaveholder left in a state of confusion, wondering whether Davids had disappeared on “some underground railroad.”
Underground Railroad Capturing runaways soon became a prosperous business. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 allowed a slave holder or professional bounty hunter to seize runaways, even in free states. Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-17414-Z62-34810.]
Emancipation In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all enslaved people free in the Southern states. Emancipation Proclamation, Emancipation Day, Richmond, VA Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-D4-10865]
Emancipation Unfortunately, none of the states in rebellion obeyed this order. The proclamation demonstrated that the Civil War was being fought to end slavery. Initially, President Lincoln viewed the war only in terms of preserving the Union. As time went by, he became increasingly sympathetic to the abolitionist movement. The end of slavery came with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in December 1865.