Change in status of black people in the .U.S
Humankind has had to endure several changes in different sectors of the society so as to attain the present status. These changes are proof that the world is dynamic, and the wheels of change are in constant motion (World directory of minorities, 2009). Change can either be positive or negative depending on its ultimate outcome to the people. Positive changes make life better while negative changes make life difficult. Irrespective of the change, people have to seek alternative means that can make them survive and overcome difficult times. However, when change is positive, the society has to be grateful and harness maximum benefit so long as the change prevails. Another point of insight is that situations and changes are not permanent (Cozzens, 2011). Positive impacts of change might become better or decline. On the other hand, negative impacts of change either worsens or becomes good after some time. These changes are as a result of variance in different aspects of the societies (World directory of minorities, 2009). For instance, ultimate change in a society could be as a result in reserve level of a specific natural resource. It can also be as a result of change manifested by a specific group of people within the society. Nevertheless, most of the societal changes are as a result of a shift in human behavior either an individual or a group (Cozzens, 2011). African-Americans are one of the groups that have been a determining factor in the current status of the American society. Therefore, this paper discusses different eras that the black people in the American society been through. The paper is specific to changes in the status of the black people in America. The changes can be categorized into three main stages of evolution in status that are; before the American civil war, after the civil war and today. Changes in status of black people throughout time are an important area to study because it provides the history of the struggle of Americans. In addition, it also adds importance to the issues of identity in both black and white people in America. It also reminds the American people of the need of working together through reflecting on their achievements while together.
Status of black people before the civil war
The civil war in America can be deemed as the turning point of the United States of America. It is perceived as a turning point because of the consequences and experience that people had to go through while at war (Horton, 2013). Therefore, before this period, the US was at a different time of existence. Before the Civil War, a majority of the American population consisted of white people. Moreover, they occupied the highest and prestigious positions in the society. On the other hand, black people occupied the inferior positions in the society. Before the civil war, black people were bound to slavery and were considered inferior to the white people. They had low status in the society and had no human rights. A black person (slave) was deemed as a possession of their master. During this time, education was a luxurious endeavor for black people. As a result, their majority was illiterate (Horton, 2013). Black people were being bought from the slave trade and were supposed to work for their masters until they were no longer useful to their masters. In addition, most of the black people at this time were of African origin. They were captured from their native homes and moved to Europe by the sea for trade. The capture was due to of their physique that was considered suitable for manual labor. During this time, black people were almost equated to animals. Their lack of political or legal presentation proved that they were in the US to work for the white people and not enrich their lives. They had no human rights whatsoever, in that they had to persevere long working hours with either little or no pay at all. In addition, they were exposed to brutal treatment (Horton, 2013). Whenever, their masters were not pleased with their work; they received brutal punishment. Some punishments triggered illness among slaves while others led to their deaths.
The slave trade expanded and the number of black people increased in the United States. Furthermore, surviving black people had procreated, and the population increased (Horton, 2013). Slaves had children who despite being born in America could not claim US citizenship. They were considered Negros and had to abide by the terms of their parents masters. Since slaves were considered possession of the white people, even black people’s children were considered possession of their parent’s masters. These children had no right to education, freedom of movement or expression. Despite the suppression of their rights, they grew in numbers, and formed rebellion movements (Horton, 2013). The movement did not prevail for long, and the black people prohibited from forming union groups. The situation became worse because the black people had grown in numbers but had no right to citizenship, free will or education. They were considered objects of manual labor to the white people.
However, white people had the right to free their slaves whenever they felt appropriate. Some whites freed their slaves while others hanged on theirs until they died. A freed slave was free from bondage and could have the comfort of living alone (Horton, 2013). Unfortunately, their rights were limited compared to that of a free white person. Despite the difficulty, few black people were able to attain education and obtain slightly better job positions than other back people (slaves).
Black people status after the civil war
The American civil war sparked from the difference in opinion concerning slavery in the country. There were two main groups the Confederates who supported slavery and the Abolitionists who were against slavery (Polgar, 2011). Abolitionists were guided by humanity and some religious beliefs to condemn slavery in their country. Abolitionists guided by humanity believed that black people were just like the white people and were liable to human rights. On the other hand, abolitionists guided by religious beliefs acknowledged that black people irrespective of their skin color they were just as God’s creatures as white people. Bound by the same perception on black people, abolitionists united to form a front that challenged the Confederates who perceived black people as inferior beings (Polgar, 2011). Status of the black people after the civil war was as a result of their contributions and outcome of the war. The first black people to fight for the Union army were the blacks of Massachusetts 55th regiment. Based on their performance the society’s perception to black people improved.
After the civil war, black people were considered as people with advanced capability besides manual labor. Black people obtained the right to education, freedom of expression and free movement. However, there were several restrictions on their stated rights. For instance, black people were liable to lower pay despite partaking in the same job as the white people (Polgar, 2011). In addition, they were also considered unfit to provide leadership for the white population. The abolitionists’ front wing and the black people attained freedom from slavery. However, this leads to a serried of other forms of injustice to the black people community. The reign after the civil war composed of the highest forms of both discrimination and inequality.
Black people had the right to education, freedom of movement and expression. However, black people only attended schools in the black people territory (Polgar, 2011). In addition, they were allowed to express their views and enjoyed their freedom of movement within black people territory. Black people were not allowed to enroll in white people school or wander the streets where white people lived. The disadvantage of this segregation was that black people could not obtain access to quality services in terms of education and other social amenities. Most of the prestigious schools, hospitals, houses and infrastructure existed in the white people territory where black people were not allowed to live (Polgar, 2011). Despite the forms of discrimination and inequality, there was elation in the black people status in the society. Eventually, black people obtained recognition as American citizens. They were allowed to partake in elections and vie for electoral positions within the government.
Black people status today
The modern world present the most advanced status of the black people in history. The modern world consists of the period from the 21st century to date. There has been an improvement in the representation of black people in the society. The society has developed to an age where the rights and privileges of the black people are no longer only on paper but practical (Cozzens, 2011). The elation in status led to the development of the term African-American to refer to black people with US citizenship.
African-Americans status in the United States has improved, and they are at a level where they can be perceived as equals to the whites. African-Americans have established prestigious schools that offer quality education (World directory of minorities, 2009). Certifications from these schools are recognized globally. In addition, American-American has lucrative position both in the US federal and state governments. Furthermore, they have lucrative positions in government and private organizations. The African-American populations have equal human rights as the white people. In addition, white and black people undergo trial in the same federal and state courts (Cozzens, 2011). Moreover, access to high-income jobs has been availed to African-Americans. American citizens obtain employment because of their personal achievement and not on the basis of their skin color. The elevation in status has availed equal competitive chance for both African-American and white citizens in the job market.
The current president of the United States in an African-American and is the first non-white person to assume the president office in the United States of America. Black people status in the US has advanced to a level where white people can appreciate them (World directory of minorities, 2009). In order to be president, a candidate has to garner more than forty percent of the votes from each state in the US. Therefore, for a black person to become president, they have to garner the votes of whites in America. In addition, the presidency is the highest legal office in the US, and an African-American being in the office is proof of the elevation in status of black people (World directory of minorities, 2009).
In conclusion, the three stages of evolution portray elevation of the black person’s status in the U.S. However, their elevation in status has been achieved as a result of the sacrifices and struggle by sections of both the white people community and black people. Before the civil war, black people had their lowest status and today they have their most advanced status.
Cozzens, L., (2011), state of the blacks, Watson org, black history, retrieved from http://www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/post-civilwar/reconstruction.html
Horton, J., (2013). Free People of Color: Inside the African-American Community.
Polgar, J., (2011), ‘Whenever They Judge it Expedient’: The Politics of Partisanship and Free Black Voting Rights in Early National New York, American Nineteenth Century History
World directory of minorities, (2009), African Americans, Minority rights org, retrieved from http://www.minorityrights.org/2607/united-states-of-america/african-americans.html