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File - American Civilization Stages of the African American History

> Langues > Cours
Date de cration : 09 Octobre 2012
Nb de pages : 8
Type de document : Document Word
Affichage de la fiche : 1 214 fois
Dtails :

Table of contents :


I) Slavery in North America : introduction and development
A. Introduction of Africans in North America
B. Establishing racial slavery in colonial America
C. Specificity of North American plantations and emergence of an African-American culture

II) Slavery in the United States
A. Slavery and the Republic
B. ‘King Cotton’: expansion of slavery in the 19th century
C. What it meant to be a slave

Description :

This course presents the key periods of African American history from the arrival of the first Africans in North America in 1620 to the dawn of the 21st century. For the first time in US history, a black man has been elected president. Barack Obama’s 2008 election certainly stands as the symbol of the tremendous progress that African Americans have achieved since the days of slavery but it does not mean that racial issues now belong to the past.
The history of the United States is deeply shaped by the presence of ethnic minorities; Blacks are no longer the largest minority: they represent 12,4% of the population whereas Hispanics account for 14,8% (2006 figures). However, contrary to Hispanics, Blacks were part and parcel of the very foundation of the British colonies in North America which later became “the United States”. This was especially true for the southern colonies where a plantation system developed.
The broad lines of the course will describe the institution of slavery (17th century to 1865), the shift from servitude to segregation which occurred in the last quarter of the 19th century, the different ways in which African Americans fought for their rights, and the evolution of their social and economic situation, especially since the 1970’s.
We talk today about “African Americans” but this name was not used until the late 1980’s. Before, from the late 19th century to the 1960’s, the word “Negro” was widely used, even if many Blacks preferred to be called “colored”. Negro has no pejorative connotation (different from “nigger”) and many black intellectuals and leaders preferred it to” colored“ because it represented people of African descent around the world and offered a sense of global identity. If you look at the titles of early histories of African Americans, you will notice that “Negro” is frequently used until the 1960’s/ 70’s. (see for instance History of the Negro Race (George Washington Williams, 1882) or William Du Bois who published The Negro in 1915). But by the late 1960’s, “Afro-American” and “black” replaced the word “Negro”; indeed, the 1970’s were characterized by the rise of Black power, Black Consciousness and Black Arts movements and many African Americans opted for “black” or “Afro American “ to refer to themselves with a sense of racial pride which established a connection to Africa. Since the late 1980’s, the most widely used term has been “African American”; this term was chosen because it clearly provided blacks with a land of origin, an ethnic identity and a history going beyond enslavement in America. Besides, this term must be understood in the multicultural context of the US and the various ethnic minorities who refer to themselves as “Asian American”, “Mexican American”, “Haitian American” etc…
“African American” also includes immigrants from African countries whose ancestors were not slaves in America, like B. Obama for instance.
As we can see, the evolution in self-designation reflects the different ways in which blacks thought about their place in US history; it also reflects reaction to oppression and racial pride. In the course, the words “Blacks” and “African Americans” will be used interchangeably.

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