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"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created

equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable

Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness"

(Thomas Jefferson).

Slavery

Slavery in America stems well back to when the new world was first

discovered and was led by the country to start the African Slave Trade-

Portugal. The African Slave Trade was first exploited for plantations

in that is now called the Caribbean, and eventually reached the southern

coasts of America (Slavery Two; Milton Meltzer). The African natives were

of all ages and sexes. Women usually worked in the homes, cooking and

cleaning, whereas men were sent out into the plantations to farm. Young

girls would usually help in the house also and young boys would help in

the farm by bailing hay and loading wagons with crops.

Since trying to capture the native Indians, the Arawaks and Caribs,

failed (Small-Pox had killed them), the Europeans said out to capture

African slaves.

They were shipped from Africa by the Europeans in what was called

The Triangular Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. This was an organized route

where Europeans would travel to Africa bringing manufactured goods,

capture Africans and take them to the Caribbean, and then take the crops

and goods and bring them back to Europe. The African people, in order to

communicate invented a language that was a mixture of all the African

languages combined, called Creole. This language now varies from island

to island. They also kept their culture which accounts for calypso music

and the instruments used in these songs.

Slavery was common all over the world until 1794 when France signed

the Act of the National Convention abolishing slavery. It would take

America about a hundred years to do the same (Slavery Two; Milton Meltzer).

George Washington was America's hero. He was America's first

president. He was a slave owner. He deplored slavery but did not

release his slaves. His will stated that they would be released after

the death of his wife (The Volume Library; 1988). Washington wasn't

the only president to have slaves. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "All men

are created equal" but died leaving his blacks in slavery.

In 1775 black Americans were sent to fight in the revolutionary

army. The British proposed that if a black man was to join their army,

they would be set free afterwards. America originally planned not to let

the blacks fight in the army, but when hearing this, let them enlist.

Only Georgia and South Carolina refused to let them enlist, but paid for

their racism when each lost 25,000 blacks to the British. The slaves

returned on an honourable discharge after securing America's freedom,

but not their own (Software Toolworks Encyclopedia; 1992).

Slavery continued and so did the numbers of slaves trying to escape

to the free states or into Canada. A runaway slave would be found by

bloodhounds, trained to find black slaves. Then the slave, upon returning,

would be executed or severely whipped.

The "Underground Railroad" was a project that helped black slaves

escape into Canada, especially Amherstburg. The system involved 3,000

white helpers and freed an estimated 75,000 people after the civil war.

Slavery in the middle of the 1800's was abolished except for the

rebellion states in the south. In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation

was issued which made slavery illegal in the states that had rebelled

and allowed black slaves to serve in the army and get other jobs, or

continue to work on the plantations, as employees making money.

The nightmare of slavery was over but a new one was to begin.

One that was worse for it was prevalent but was secret and silent. One

that exists today. One that does not shrink but rather grows. Racism

was and is upon us.

Racism

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a

nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the

content of their character" (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Ku Klux Klan. Neo Nazis. The Aryan Nations. The American Nazi

Party. What are these groups? Why are they present in a land of supposed

equality of all men? They are there because there are millions of

Americans that believe in their message of white pride.

The African American population is growing and Americans are now

a mixed group of people. Black people are white people's neighbours,

doctors, friends. With a growing unity between the two races, why does

racism continue? The answer is simple. Racists from many years ago

raise their kids in clans and white supremacy groups and teach them the

ways of hatred. These kids grow up "brain-washed" that black people are

their enemies and, taught by example, will continue this trend

(The Volume Library; 1988).

The Ku Klux Klan has been around since the end of the civil war.

It is a roller coaster of a history. From extreme power, to rapid

decline, and slow reemergence (Software Toolworks Encyclopedia; 1992).

The clan, who is notorious for its violence, has a relatively innocent

beginning. It was formed from some veterans from the confederate army

and was first called the Kuklos Clan which, in Greek, meant Circle Clan.

One person thought it would be a good idea to call it the "Ku Klux Klan"

as a parody of the fraternity names which always had three Greek alphabet

letters in it. They created the Clan to be mischievous and to do it

without anyone knowing who they were which accounts for their costumes

and masks. They, like most whites, were upset that the black people were

free because black people were a constant reminder of the bitter defeat

of the South. So to have fun they terrorized black people. Eventually

the group grew, fluctuating, but grew to become the first white supremacy

group in America and with that growth, their hatred grew as well into

what was seen in the early and middle 1900's and what is seen today.

Along with the KKK, other anti-black, pro-white groups formed and

stemmed out all over the U.S.A. The Neo Nazis who are more commonly

know by the term "Skin Heads", are a growing force in hate groups. There

hatred of Hispanics, Jews, Blacks, and others are now the fastest

growing force in America. The Skin Head movement is usually done by

the younger kids. These kids are drawn to the Aryan Nations and Neo

Nazis by the promise of free drugs, free booze, heavy metal music,

ultimate freedom and rebellion. A lot of these kids stay because of

family troubles at home and, like in a gang, feel like they have a

family with the group and feel loved. "The skinheads are a family...

A lot of us don't have what you'd call a home" commented Joshua, who

is a 16 year old recruiter in California (United They Hate; Michael

Kronenwetter).

The race war was in full force by the 1960's. With the growth of

white supremacy and their groups, black too had a weapon. Martin Luther

King Jr. lead his people to march in Washington to end segregation and

to form black unity for an equal and better America. Malcolm X, who

was a Muslim, may have come from a different religion than his Christian

counterpart, but had a very similar message and a similar fate.

Both were assassinated.

Today the hate groups of America have spread into Canada and are

particularly common in Manitoba. The major sects are of the same name

as their American cousins with a very similar message.

Racism, despite much opposition, will never end. As long as

there is fighting among a Jew and a Palestinian or hatred between a

white and a black, Racism will be there. Only a utopian society

can achieve such a dream. It is in human nature to have a few people

that do not understand or possibly hate those who are different but,

in fact, we are not different, we are judgmental and we are

discriminatory, we segregate. We are unique individuals but among

races we are equal and the same.

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