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Africa

Chapter 1: Africa

  1. What argument could be made to support or refute the idea that ancient Egyptians were black? What do you think it tells us about how culture is used in the classification of racial groups?

People of African descent were inherently inferior to whites because they were unable to civilize (pg10). In 19th century African Americans and white liberals argued that Egyptians were black and they were one of the greatest civilizations of the ancient world. Ancient Egyptians exhibited a mixture of racial features and spoke different languages.  It is shown that the languages spoken by the Egyptians were very similar to languages spoken in North Africa and Southwest Asia (pg9).  Afrocentriast consider ancient Egypt as a prominent black civilization and they had a major impact on the Mediterranean region as well as later African civilizations. Afrocentriast argue that black Egyptians were the originators of western civilization. But they were unable to recognize the achievements of western Africa which was the immediate cause of most African Americans birth. Afrocentriast argues that we can see the influence of ancient Egyptians in African American community in religion, commerce, and art (pg9).

  1. After reading about the West African society on the eve of the expansion of the Atlantic slave trade, what do you think were the strengths and weaknesses of West African societies, and why so many West Africans societies failed to resist the enslavement of other Africans?

Expansion of the trans-Atlantic slave trade occurred because of the plantation of the new world. There was a constant demand for cheap labor to work in the plantations. West Africa was divided into smaller part.  Their biggest weakness was Kingdoms who often preyed upon each other, selling off captives to slavery (pg20). The slave trade was so lucrative, that some rulers would even sell off their own people through corrupt judicial systems. The slavery that was practiced in Africa, however, was far more benign than the slavery that was practiced in the New World, so there may have been some confusion as to the fate to which they were sending their people. The strengths of the societies: there was not a social cast system in place, and most members of the societies were equally powerful.  West African had burning desire to get rich quickly from the slave trade while sacrificing their people (pg20). This was one of the main reasons why many West Africans societies failed to resist enslaving other Africans.

Ch 2: Middle passage

  1. Please explain and support with examples why the Atlantic Slave trade may be viewed as genocide, or why it should only be viewed as a crude desired to secure cheap inexpensive labor?

I believe that Atlantic slave trade can be viewed as a genocide because people were mentally and physically tortured and killed due to Atlantic slave trade. Over 10 million people died due to the direct consequences of Atlantic slave trade (pg 36). Men were separated from their families and females were left alone in Africa. Men were tortured physically and mentally which resulted in making them more rebellious. Atlantic slave trade was targeted specifically on African American which resulted in death of lot of African citizens. Mostly men were deported to as a slave labor because Europeans believed that men and boys were stronger laborer than girls and women (pg 56). I believe that this is the European way to deliberately killing Africans.

  1. How did Africans resist the dehumanizing forces of being captured and sold, carried through the middle passage, and “seasoned" in the Caribbean?

Africans could resist the dehumanizing forces of the middle passage and repressive forces of slavery by developing their own culture and preserving their languages or creating languages to separate themselves from their situation (pg 49). "Seasoned" referred as unbroken slaves who came straight from Africa. Slaves were imported from Africa to work in tobacco, rice and cotton farms. But many slaves came to North American from Caribbean which were brought from straight from Africa or where ever they were originally born.

  1. Provide examples of how enslaved Africans relied on their culture to defend and resist slavery in the Caribbean?

The developed their own culture and preserved their languages. They created new tradition which helped them separate from the situations in Caribbean. For example, sometimes slaves would team together and violently oppose to slavery. Sometime they would poison them animals or owner and sometimes they would turn it against themselves by committing suicide or infanticide. It was not unusual that slaves would to resist to work for few days or hours, not matter how much they would be tortured. Sometimes this resulted in moving slaves to another location or killing them.

Chapter 3: Black People in Colonial North America

  1. Based on your readings in chapter 3, explain why you think racial prejudice among English settlers in the Chesapeake did or did not lead them to immediately enslave Africans? And how does the condition of the first group of Africans to arrive at Jamestown support your view?

I strongly believe that racial prejudice played big role among English settlers in Chesapeake which lead them to immediately enslave Africans. There were there major reason why English settlers immediately enslave Africans: 1)during the 2nd quarter of the 17th century, Caribbean colonies already had African slaves, 2)very few white people came to tobacco colonies because they found better opportunity, 3) slaves became less costly since Britain took over Atlantic slave trade. Also, masters in Chesapeake make distinctions between slaves based on their skin color. Most of the black women were assigned to do major labor jobs while poor white women assigned to do house-hold chores (pg 65).

  1. How did eighteenth-century slavery as it existed in the Chesapeake differ from that of the low country of South Carolina, Georgia, and the northern colonies?

Chesapeake masters expected their slaves to be very healthy and physically strong. They expected them to have skills to perform special takes as well as labor work. While on the other hand, in South Carolina, Georgia and Northern colonies masters expected their slaves to perform wide variety of job. Not only hard labor but wide range of jobs like to cook, clean, carpenter, cooper etc (pg 68, 74).

Chapter 4: Rising Expectations, African Americans and the Struggle for Independence

  1. Why do you think slavery became an issue during the build up to the American Revolution? How African American participation in the Revolution did affected the war's aims, and how it was fought?

American Revolution was powered by the idea that all men are created equal. Under this statement torture and killing African slaves was wrong. Thus, it became the prominent issue during the American Revolution. African American played major role in Union army during Civil war. Most of them fought bloody battle to gain independence. Most of those soldiers were escaped slaves who served in segregated units under white officers. After the American Revolution under the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson declare that all man are created equal and everyone have same rights (pg 90).

  1. How did the American Revolution encouraged or discouraged an acceptance of African Americans in American society?

American Revolution encouraged an acceptance of African Americans in American society. Under the Declaration of Independence it was declare that all men are created equal and everyone have right to freedom. Slavery was abolished in most of the states. Which helped colonists white people accept African Americans (pg 94), in American societies. Colonists helped Africans educate themselves and be more civilized.

  1. How did the emergence of a free black population after the Revolution bring into question what war of independence sought to achieve and what the new government claimed to stand for?

The substantial class of African American emerged from revolutionary era because of the ending of slavery in many different territories. It gave freedom to African slaves and it helped them fight for their rights. The new government claimed to stand on morals of all men are equal and everyone has right of freedom.

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