Posted by Deb on .
This is what my assignment is Describe, as if you were a member of that subordinate group, where the group originated, how it came to the United States, and one or two locations in the United States where members of your group live. Be creative in your fictional descriptions, and accurate with your facts. Research your text, the Internet, or the University Library for information about your chosen group. If someone could review what I have written and tell me if it is correct.
In the 42 years that I have been alive, I have never been treated as badly as I was today at the park where I took where I took my little grandbaby. It is terrible that just because my skin is black that some people look upon me and my grandbaby as a lower class citizen. I almost lost my temper in front of the grandbaby because a young white teenager was calling both of us some very nasty names. I then had to explain to my grandbaby why someone that we did not even know was yelling and calling us ugly names, the only thing that she wanted was for me to push her on the swing set. It makes me second guess how far has equal rights really come since Martin Luther King marched on Washington in 1963, where he delivered his “I have a dream” speech. In which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination.
I wonder if my ancestors had it any better in the 1700’s before they were sold into slavery as prisoners of war by African states. They came from Bakongo and are also referred to as Congolese, which is a Bantu or “black” ethnic group that lives along the Atlantic coast of Africa. After becoming prisoners of war their captures sold them to the British American people, my ancestors just called them “the white men”. The white men would load the people on the ships one of two ways. One system was called loose packing, it transported fewer slaves but prevented less disease and deaths among them. The other system which was the cruelest was called tight packing; it was used because there was more profit for the white man. When a ship was tight packed my ancestors were chained ankles to wrist, with barely any place to move.
Sanitary conditions were beyond terrible on the ships. In some cases the captains of the ship would not provide any way for the slaves to use the bathroom or wash. Some of the captains would place buckets for the slaves’ to use, but there was just very few of them so by the time the ship arrive in America the floors were covered with layers of filth.
Many slaves died on the trip that took approximately 30 days from the time they left port. Death of the slaves came in several ways; it came from diseases such as small pox and scurvy. The sailors tried to keep the slaves from getting scurvy so would make them do what is called “the dance”. The dance involved making the slaves moving around with their shackles still on with the sailors cracking a whip on their already hurt skin. That is how the white man became known as a cracker. Death also came in the form of malnutrition, suicide, and drowning.
My ancestors were one of the lucky ones that reached a port in South Carolina. I say lucky very loosely because after arriving here there was an auction and broke up the family. The father was sold to one family while the mother was sold to another. They were never able to see each other again after the auction. The father was sold to a farmer to take care of the cows and pick the cotton with many other people he had never met before. The mother was sold to a different farmer but able to work inside the house taking care of the farmers children. Living conditions on these farms were not much better than the ship they had just gotten off of. There were many times when the only thing that was eaten that day after many hours in the hot sun was just scraps that the farmers’ family did not eat. They only lived in shacks with dirt floors and the clothes were not much better.
This mistreatment of black people continued until 1863 during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in the southern states that were at war with the North. The 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution was written in1865 that ratified and outlawed slavery in the United States. In 1868, the 14th amendment granted full U.S. citizenship to African-Americans.
I am sorry that my ancestors had to go through so much to become American citizens. I am proud to an American however, my wish would be that through all the sweat and blood that has been shed for equality there is still discourse when it comes to race or creed.