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American History

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African-Americans have worked extremely hard in order to end segregation, discrimination, and to attain equality and civil rights, which nowadays may be hard to believe, but in the late 1800's and early 1900's African-Americans were discriminated, segregated and "owned." Even worse, they would often see and hear things like "whites only" and "refusal of service" because of where they ate, drank and lived.

Segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home. This was the normal day in the life of an African-American, having someone tell them where they can and cannot eat, drink, entertain themselves or even where to live. Imagine that someone tells you, you cannot buy this house because you need to live in a lesser, run-down area because of the color of your skin. This is exactly how African-Americans lived during these times. According to Bowles, 2012, slavery began the civil war which led to further violence which in turn led to segregation. But just because this was the end of slavery, does not mean that the military leaders nor politicians can change the ingrained cultural beliefs of a people. The country was split between the North and the South; Northern white and in the Southern Blacks. African-Americans such as Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and even more recent Barrack Obama have made significant steps to improve and even stop segregation. According to Bowles, 2011, American History 1865 to present End of Isolation, The Black Codes codified some of these feelings into law when in 1865 southern state governments created legislation that restricted and controlled the lives of the ex-slaves. These differed among states, but the Black Codes all shared some general provisions. African Americans could marry, but they outlawed intermarriage between the races. State governments prohibited African Americans from carrying guns, and they could not engage in work other than farming. Some of the codes restricted their travel. The most devastating aspect was the vagrancy clause, stating that if a freed slave did not perform work in accordance with these laws, they could be put in jail or "loaned" out for enforced work, which was another term for slavery. So, the white people who were decedents of slave owners thought they were above the African-Americans and they looked down on them. So, segregation was something that was an everyday occurrence which has lessened significantly because of African-American leaders. Segregation was not the only issue that African-Americans were facing, discrimination was another issue that faced nearly all of African-Americans.

Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group; which began during and even after Andrew Johnson's presidency. The Constitutional amendment became the primary vehicle for changing toward a more equal nation. In simplest terms, an amendment is a formal process that adds to, or takes something away from the U.S. Constitution. While the Constitution itself established a democratic system of government, because of the necessity of compromise, it left several important issues vague or undefined. Examples included voting rights and citizenship, and the founders passed this to the states to decide. According to Bowles, 2011, American History 1865 to present End of Isolation, though slavery was the underlying reason for the war,



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