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Turning Points: African American History

Turning points in the history of a people are events that transform their lives. For the African Americans, the three turning points are Slavery, Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. Of all the major historical events in American history, they best document the extraordinary struggle of African Americans to forge an identity and carve their deserved niche on the American landscape. The genesis of African American history can be considered to be the moment when Africans were torn away from their homeland and forced to migrate to North America. Living in oppressive conditions, slaves clung onto their ethnic identities while they adapted to new surroundings. Reconstruction marked the birth of the African American community. However, their commitment to creating a niche in American society could not overcome the racist sentiments of whites. Ultimately, it was the painful struggle of the Civil Rights Movement that paved the way for the elimination of racial injustices.

The institution of slavery violated the fundamental human rights of the slaves by transforming them into property that can be traded from person to person (Hudson 12). Furthermore, slavery was passed from generation to generation. Most significantly, slavery became a means for white people to exercise their sense of racial superiority over Africans and their descendants. The status of slavery was reserved solely for Africans and their children (Hudson 12). Their daily life and actions were controlled by their white masters. Families were separated. Slaves were subjected to physical brutality and harsh working conditions on the plantations (Hudson 14).

Before their enslavement, many of the slaves came from hundreds of different tribal African societies with distinctive cultural traditions and practices (Hudson 14). Most of the Africans brought to North American lived formerly in the central and western areas of Africa (Stuckey 10). Even though they came from...

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Turning Points: African American History. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:34, March 20, 2019, from