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Racism in African American Studies and History Essay

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Updated: Apr 9th, 2021

Why is the aspect of African American history rarely discussed?

One of the key factors that led to a scanty discussion of African American history is racism. This vice caused a lot of socio-economic and political harm in the wider history of African Americans. In any case, this segment of the population in American society was largely held in low esteem. Therefore, their history was not favored at all by most of the prolific white scholars. The slavery years, coupled with a slow social cohesion and reconstruction of the African American society, also contributed towards poor education standards among this group. It took several decades before the African American society could produce scholars who could deeply explore the history of the group. Besides, it is crucial to mention that African American society is a rather small segment of the entire American population. As a minority group, their history has been overshadowed by other dominant populations in the north. These weaknesses attempt to explain why there is a rare discussion of African American history.

Why did so many free blacks stay in the south?

The southern free blacks were comprised of two categories, namely those residing in the northern part of the region and the southern portion. For a long time, historians wondered why quite a large number of free slaves still resided in the inhospitable southern states of the United States of America. Historical records indicate that manumission fever was the main factor that increased a large number of free blacks in the southern states. However, it is crucial to mention that this fever was largely experienced in the upper south of the region. This implied that most of the freed African American slaves who had no masters found it easier to sojourn in the lower south than traverse the long distance to the slave-free states in the north. Since manumission fever was never embraced in the lower south, the free slaves found this region more hospitable than the upper south. Nonetheless, it is still prudent to mention that some slaves opted to remain in the upper south in spite of the tough life. Historians argue that such slaves were already used to their lifestyles for a very long time, and as a result, they found no need to seek an alternative place of residence. In other words, slavery was a typically embraced lifestyle that most individuals found to be normal.

Second, the geographical landscape and distance to be covered from the south to northern states were believed by historians as a major hurdle in the migration of freed slaves. As much as some of them wished to run away from the slavery south, geographical disadvantage did not permit them. It is also believed that their movements were curtailed by the colonial masters to the extent that they could not move for long distances without being caught up. The rails and roads connecting the northern and southern states were closed under the watch and dominance of slave masters. Hence, it was yet another risk to travel from south to north, even after being freed. Needless to say, free slaves could still be captured and enrolled back to forced labor. In addition, the antebellum period witnessed a major growth of freed slaves in the southern states. It can be recalled that a large number of enslaved African Americans lacked proper papers or certifications to confirm that they had been truly freed. Although there were quasi-free blacks who were equally counted as free slaves, the number of freed slaves in the south increased substantially.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Racism in African American Studies and History." April 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/racism-in-african-american-studies-and-history/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Racism in African American Studies and History'. 9 April.

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