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Historical Progression of African Americans

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HISTORICAL PROGRESSION OF AFRICAN AMERICANS

African Americans were liberated, but the change of their social status did not bring a considerable relief for them because they had suffered from economic and political oppression.

During 1865-1876 African Americans faced the most dramatic period in history because it was during the time dreams of the liberation and new life had reached the apogee and it was by the end of this period their dreams were totally destroyed. During 1877-1920, the discrimation of African Americans and massacres were a continue ongoing situation. The southern states decided to adopt new Constitutions or amendments that affectively disfranchised most African Americans as well as many poor whites. Adopting the new Constitution decrease African Americans votes and they did not have the opportunities to be represented in the U.S. branch power, which force them to move from their land.

Defining African Americans history: African-American history is the portion of American history that specifically discusses the African American or Black American ethnic group in the United States. Most African Americans are the descendants of captive Africans held in the United States from 1619 to 1865. Blacks from the Caribbean whose ancestors immigrated, or who immigrated to the U.S., also traditionally have been considered African American, as they share a common history of predominantly West African or Central African roots, the Middle Passage and slavery.

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It is these peoples, who in the past were referred to and self-identified collectively as the American Negro, who now generally consider themselves African Americans. It is these peoples whose history is celebrated and highlighted annually in the United States during February, designated as Black History Month, and it is their history that is the focus of this article. Others who sometimes are referred to as African Americans, and who may self-identify as such in US government censuses, include relatively recent Black immigrants from Africa, South America and elsewhere who self-identify as being of African descent.

African Americans history started as early as 1619 when the first African slaves arrive in Virginia. One stormy day in August of 1619 a Dutch man of-war with about 20 Africans on board entered port at the English colony of Jamestown, Virginia. Little is known of these newly arrived people: the first Africans to set foot on the North American continent. At this time the slave trade between Africa and the English colonies had not yet been established, and it is unlikely that the 20 or so newcomers became slaves upon their arrival. They were perhaps considered indentured servants, who worked under contract for a certain period of time (usually seven years) before they were granted freedom and the rights accorded to other settlers. Their historic arrival, however, marked the beginning of an atrocious trend in colonial America, in which the people of Africa were taken unwillingly from their motherland and consigned to lifelong slavery. The robust economic growth of the English colonies was caused largely by this exploitative institution.

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When the Civil War begin 1861, the Confederacy was found when the deep South had secedes. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860. South Carolina asked the other slave states to join together in forming a new nation. By February 1861 six other states from the lower south followed South Carolina. They were Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. These seven states formed a new union called the Confederate States of America. The South gave three reasons for leaving the Union, the first reason the Confederate States felt the United States thought they had broken the Constitution, the second reason the Confederacy argued that the United States had failed to enforce the Fugitive Slave Laws and the second reason, the government would not allow slavery in the new territories. The upper southern states remained with the Union at this time. Virginia said that if the North decided to fight they would fight against them. Lincoln said they would not use force to get the states back into the Union. He hoped they would do so on their own. The Confederate States began taking over the forts on their land from the federal soldiers. There was no fighting. Only two federal forts were left in the South. They were Fort Pickens in Florida and Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Both of the forts were surrounded by Confederate troops. Virginia voted to leave the Union 1861. North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas followed shortly after Virginia. The slave states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware remained loyal to the Union. Western Virginia formed a new state, West Virginia, for those who wanted to be a free state.

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A new change begin in 1863 when President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation declaring "that all persons held as slaves" within the Confederate states are henceforward shall be free. The Freedmen's Bureau was created in 1865 during the Lincoln administration, by an act of Congress called the Freedman's Bureau Bill. It was passed on March 3, 1865, in order to aid former slaves through food and housing, oversight, education, health care, and employment contracts with private landowners.

A follow up Freedmen's Bureau Bill was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson on February 19, 1866, and Congress failed to override that veto on the following day.

That failed 1866 Freedmen's Bureau bill was closely related to the Civil Rights Act of 1866. On March 9, 1866, Congressman John Bingham explained that, "the seventh and eighth sections of the Freedmen's Bureau bill enumerate the same rights and all the rights and privileges that are enumerated in the first section of this [the Civil Rights] bill." On May 29, 1866 the House passed a further Freedmen's Bureau Bill, and on June 26, 1866 the Senate passed an amended version. On July 3, 1866 both chambers passed a conference committee's compromise version. On July 16, 1866 Congress received another presidential veto message, which Congress overrode later that day. This congressional action extended the Freedmen's Bureau, increased antipathy between President Johnson and Radical Republicans in Congress, and was a major factor during Reconstruction. The Freedmen's Bureau bill that passed in 1866 provided many additional rights to ex-slaves, including the distribution of land, schools for their children, and military courts to ensure these rights.

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