The Impact of Slavery

Slavery had a massive impact upon the development of the United States of America and on the transformation of the African-American ethnic group into the way it currently is. This was not an easy period of time for the slaves, and it took a massive toll on human lives, physical and mental health, and dignity. However, many of these past atrocities remain obscure to the modern-day Americans, diminishing the weight they had and still have on the African-American people and mitigating the efforts to fully eradicate its effects on contemporary society.

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Berlin, I. (1980). Time, Space, and the Evolution of Afro-American Society on British Mainland North America. The American Historical Review, 85(1), 44-78.

This article by Ira Berlin (1980) is considered a seminal work on the development of the Afro-American culture during the 17th and 18th centuries in the British North American Mainland and is a key study into the cultural and economic factors which affected the status of the African slaves in the South, their demographic situation, particularly in comparison to the white population and laborers, and the formation of the ethical and cultural group of Afro-Americans, distinct from Africans. The author puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of time and place in his study of American slavery (p. 47). He begins by explaining the unifying factors the slaves started within the 17th century, when the original import of slaves occurred: shared African lineage, hardships brought upon them due to their position in the society, a common oppressor in the face of the white man, etc. However, due to distinctly different economic, ethical and demographical conditions in the North and South American mainland, the African population developed in three different patterns, which shaped the lives of the slaves around the country (p. 67).

As the policies and public opinions about slavery were changing, weakening in some states and strengthening in others, the lifestyles led by the black populations changed even further, creating even more diversity among the forming African-American ethnic group, which, at this point, had diverged significantly from the original African culture (p.77).

Biondi, M. (2003). The Rise of the Reparations Movement. Radical History Review, 87, 5-18. Web.

In her article, Biondi (2003) describes the social and political African-American movement, which is advocating the need for reparations for the centuries of subjugation and employ of dehumanizing, degrading strategies against the African nationals brought to America as slaves and their descendants. The movement is presented as the culmination of a centuries-long struggle of African-Americans for recognition of their equal human rights and the crimes committed against them (p. 5).

Reparations have been the goal of a number of Black Nationalist groups since the earliest years of the civil rights movement in the nineteenth century. The demands usually encompassed financial payments to the African-American ethnic group and often demanded the right for the former slaves or their descendants to be given a chance to claim the territories that they once worked on and be given additional opportunities for political self-determination within the American society (p. 7).

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In contemporary society, civil rights groups perceive reparations as a way to force the American government to finally accept the full scope of torment and hardships that its past iterations have inflicted upon the African-Americans, from the early days of black slavery to modernity, in order to finally achieve the much desired racial justice and deal a heavy blow to the still present white supremacy.

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