African Americans Perhaps more than that of any other minority, the history of African Americans in this country has been a long and complex story. During the slave trade in the early history of the United States, millions of blacks were brought from Africa. By the late 1700s, almost 4 million slaves lived in the southern states. While some slave masters may have tried to treat their black slaves humanely, the slaves felt deeply their loss of homeland, family, and freedom. In addition, harsh working conditions, physical beatings, manacles, branding, and castration were common. Nor did the slaves always passively give in to their masters' whims; sometimes slaves rebelled against their masters. Out of all of this oppression evolved a variety of uniquely African-American forms of art and music, including gospel, jazz, and the blues. The formal abolition of slavery during the Civil War forever altered the life of blacks, especially in the
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