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African American Culture in America
Throughout American history, African Americans have suffered from injustices, racism, and discrimination. In the 1600s, Spanish and Portuguese settlers involuntary brought the first slaves to the newly formed American Colonies. From the beginning, Africans were bought and sold as servants and laborers. States passed laws that sanctioned the enslavement of blacks after the invention of the cotton grid. Life under slavery was appalling and arduous. Black culture wassuppressed during slavery. The nation was torn apart by the Civil War. The victory by the North freed four millions slaves. The Civil Rights Movement helped bring social change. Government supported desegregation and racial discrimination came to an end. Despite the social changes discrimination and repression is still apart of African American life. Their language, customs, values, artistic forms, and religious beliefs have been reshaped. African Americans have played asignificant role in American culture. In the early 1600s after African slaves were brought to the United States (Farley), from the beginning, racial inequality mildly existed but profoundly changed due to the chattel system. In the early colonial years African Americans were only slaves for period of time. After the expiration of their contracts they were granted status and freedom. Prior to the American Revolution, slavery existed in all the colonies. The ideals of the Revolution and the limited profitability of slavery in the North resulted in its abandonment in northern states during the last quarter of the 18th century. During that time, they were allowed to own property and land. The chattel slavery system unfortunately changed the lives of all black slaves. The federal government passed laws that sanctioned the enslavement of slaves. According to the law, slaves were the personal property of their owners. They were stripped of their rights. Nearly 4 million
slaves were toiled in the South. With the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, the demand for slaves boomed. Plantations owners needed large amounts of cheap laborers. Under the plantationsystem gang labor was the typical form of employment. Overseers were harsh as a matter of general practice, and brutality was common. Slaves could own no property unless sanctioned by a slave master, and rape of a female slave was not considered a crime except as it represented trespassing on another's property. Slaves could not present evidence in court against whites. In