BLACK HISTORY IN THE US - part 1 - SLAVERY
Created on April 14, 2020
part 1 - SLAVERY
( Fabienne BAZZICONI - académie Aix-Marseille )
what is slavery ?
Slavery inthe U.S.A
From Africa to America
Slavery in America started in the 17th century and was abolished in 1865 when the Civil War was won by the North.
The slaves were sold and bought at public auctions like cattle The families often lived together but they could be separated too.
Slaves were forced to work from sunrise to sunset
In the North , they usually worked in smaller farms . Some of them were house slaves : they worked inside their masters' houses as servants , or nannies
The colonies established laws regarding slaves called "slave codes". Slave owners had absolute power over their slaves and slaves had no rights. In many places, enslaved people were not allowed to learn to read and write. They were not protected by the laws that protected free citizens. They did not have the rights that other people did.
Escape from Slavery
In the 19th century , slaves used a secret network to run away to Northern States or Canada . This network was called "The Underground Railroad" . It was not a real railroad : slaves didn't have to take a train . It was a network of routes organized by people who helped slaves escape. The fugitive slaves were called "passengers" and hiding places were called "stations" , "safe houses or depots" . The people operating these places were called "stationmasters". Slaves were helped by "conductors" who guided them to a station that was marked by a candle at the window. Runaways could only travel at night and so they had to find their way by looking at the stars and constellations. Fugitives had to disguise themselves and to use coded messages and songs. They couldn't speak to anyone , they had to be very careful : one word heard by the wrong person could put an end to their journey. As many as 100,000 slaves escaped along " The Underground Railroad" during the 18000's . This network helped open the eyes on the question of slavery.
Although most Underground Railroad workers helped in secret , a few became famous.
Harriet Tubman was born a slave in Maryland in 1822. She was one of the most famous Underground Conductors . After she successfully escaped from her plantation in 1849 to the free state of Pennsylvania thanks to the "Underground Railroad" , she came back to Maryland 19 times to lead family members , friends and other slaves to freedom. She saved hundreds of people . It is said that she never lost a single "passenger" ! Slave owners offered huge rewards for her capture. There is a museum in Macon , Georgia , named after her : the "Tubman African American museum"
HARRIET TUBMAN ( 1822 - 1913 )
SLAVE STATES and FREE STATES
After the American Revolution , many Northern states outlawed slavery . By 1840 most slaves who lived north of the Mason-Dixon Line were set free. Many people in the north felt that slavery should be illegal in all the United States . These people were called "abolitionists" because they wanted to "abolish" slavery. So the United States became divided between slave states in the South and free states to the north. When new states were added , one of the major issues was whether the new state would legalize slavery or not.
Map of the United States of America ( 1854 )
THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR ( 1861 - 1865 )
Before the Civil war , America was divided into 2 groups : Slave states in the South ( Mississippi , Alabama , Louisiana ..) and Free states in the North ( Pennsylvania , Massachusetts ,..) . The southern states didn't want the abolition of slavery because their economy relied greatly on this practice . But the new president of the USA , Abraham Lincoln , said that slavery was to be banned . The southern states decided that , in this case , they didn't want to be part of the nation anymore . So , they decided to secede and called themselves " The Confederate States" , "The Confederation". There result fightings and the beginning of the Civil War in April 1861. Over half a million Americans were killed by the end of the war , in 1865 , when the North won and the confederate states were reintegrated. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation Act of 1863 and slavery was abolished with the Thirteen Amendment to the United States Constitution. In 1868 former slaves were given the American nationality.