History And Impacts Of Slavery In America

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Slavery has been and will forever be part of America’s history and stake claim to a darker chapter of a growing nation. However, while the era has passed to the back of our times, it would be turning a blind eye to those still facing modern Slavery. Slavery in the 1800s was large. Almost everyone owned a slave, and it’s estimated that 380,000 slaves were brought to America. In current times, it’s estimated that 403,000 people are living in different forms of modern slavery (Global Slavery Index). Early slavered bared its mark on American History, and eventually, modern slavery will too.

Before slavery started in America’s, it was a common practice that can be traced to early civilizations on the far sides of the Globe. The Roman Empire, Greece, and Egypt all thrived through the use of slavery, using the slaves to do jobs they didn’t want to do. Most of the slaves in Rome were prisoners of war, or slaves brought in from different countries In Egypt much of the slave population also consisted of prisoners of war. The slaves in the ancient civilizations would work in the houses of their owners, and farms, and in Rome, working as gladiators, entertaining the masses.

The earliest evidence found of slavery in the United States was in 1619, when a Dutch ship, the White Lion landed in Virginia. They traded the twenty or so slaves on board for supplies for their ship and food. “The majority of the slaves were acquired by wealth and well-connected English planters.” (Historic Jamestown). However, this was against the laws at the time, which was strictly against slavery.

In the following years, the law was changed and in 1641, slavery was legalized. The demand for slaves slowly became more popular, and more were shipped to the United States. It’s believed that only six percent of all the slave trade was brought to America.

With the newfound increase of slavery, it also brought in an influx of rebellions. In 1676 Bacon’s rebellion was the first of many. In 1739, the Stono Rebellion in South Carolina, slaves rebelled and burned an armory, which resulted in 80 people dead. It’s said to be the largest of the uprisings. In 1800, Gabriel’s Rebellion was a rebellion that ended with 26 slaves hung because of it. In 1822, The Vesey Revolt ended before it started and black Churches in Charleston were burned out of the fear that they would support an uprising.

Most slaves that were brought to America worked either in factories in the north or in plantations in the south. On the plantations, most worked a variety of jobs; picking cotton, harvesting tobacco, building railroads, etc. (Work Done by Slaves). Although they worked a variety of jobs, their inhuman living conditions and treatments were consistently terrible. Most owners treated the slaves poorly, and if you were caught running away you would be punished severely.

Harriet Tubman was a slave, but it was more known for her work as an American Abolitionist. She was born into slavery in 1820 and escaped from slavery in 1849. She became a conductor for the Underground Railroad, saving thousands of lives and bringing them to Freedom.

Phillis Wheatley was another slave, who was brought in by boat and sold to the Wheatley family in 1761. She became one of the most well-known poets of the century. In the Wheatley home, she was taught to read and write on the side of her duties as a slave. Through the help of Mrs. Wheatley, she was able to publish her findings in a journal in England, after failing to find any interests in her works in Boston.

Slavery ended in 1865 when the Confederate Union surrendered to the Union. However, before this, two years earlier The Emancipation Proclamation freed all the slaves on both sides. While the slaves were freed, their real freedoms would be won over years and years of suffering and discrimination.

Modern slavery never had a proper exact start but can be seen as fragments of the prior era collecting anew. The practice today although outlawed ages ago, survives throughout the world.

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The practice is a shell of its former self, just shielded from the public eye. It now, not only affects minorities but every age and skin color. America, alongside Canada, Argentina, and Chile, have some of the lowest rates of slavery, Chile with an estimated 14,000 in slavery. America sits at an estimated 403,000 people, higher than Chiles. However, compared to Pakistan, who are estimated to has 3,186,000 people in slavery, both countries numbers seem insignificant. (Global Slavery Index)

Modern Slavery has a variety of forms, much like the prior version. From Sex Trafficking to, forced marriage, to domestic servitude. (End Slavery Now) Compared to prior generations, this era has a better chance of completely ending slavery for good, through the connections of the internet, to common decency.

Per example, Ashton Kutcher a tv personality works toward saving people from sex trafficking. In May of 2018, he saved 6,000 kids from the practice through his organization. In February of 2017, he testified in front of Congress over the issue, becoming one of the more outspoken Activists.

Flor Molina was a victim of modern slavery. In 2001, she was brought to America and ended up Los Angeles where she was quickly told she owed her trafficker three thousand dollars. “ When I arrived in Los Angeles, I quickly realized it been a lie. My trafficker told me that now I owe her almost $3,000 for bringing me to the U.S. and that I had to work for her in order to pay her back.”

Her sewing teacher had tricked her into going after lying it was an opportunity. Flor had been desperate after losing her baby and accepted the offer. After that, she was forced to work long hours every day making dresses that would then be sold in department stores for large amounts of money. She would only get a meal per day, and alongside another victim of the trafficker slept in a small storage room. Eventually, a coworker of hers realized something was wrong and offered her phone number. Her slavery continued for a while longer before managed to be let out to go to church and she called her coworker. In the end, the FBI had already been working on investigating the trafficker. (End Slavery Now)

Despite the fact that many people still face the horrors of modern slavery, it doesn’t mean we can blatantly ignore our past history and lessons that can be taken from then. There are still cases of people who believe that the abolition of slavery should have never happened and align themselves on the Confederate Unions side.

As well, most history lessons that focus on that era, end up in the back of our heads, forgotten and too obsessed with the newest craze or newest tragedy, before they too are swept under the rug and forgotten.

The only remnants of slavery exist in monuments and statues. Which even now causes short discussions that are eventually forgotten as well. Per example, the Statues of Generals Lee and Jackson in Baltimore were being removed in 2017 and caused a debate over if they should be removed or not. The division stood between people who believed that the removal of the statues would lead to the removal of southern culture, or the removal of history, while others saw it as a sign of glorifying slavers. (BBC )

“The American people always largely engrossed with excitement’s are most likely to forget too soon than to remember too long the terrible facts connected with this conflict. It is already too difficult to call up a true picture of the national situation of twenty years ago.” (Frederick Douglass 1884)

Although the history and remembrance of the dark chapter are important to carry with us as we continue to move further away from it, we have to place those same thoughts toward slavery still existing today. It’s important to keep modern slaveries effects from hurting the future of America and from marking another dark chapter of our society.

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