Black history.


Ayesha Raza2022/03/04 11:16
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African-American history began with the arrival of Africans to North America in the 16th and 17th centuries. Former Spanish slaves who had been freed by Francis Drake arrived aboard the Golden Hind at New Albion in California in 1579.

Black history.

Black history

From 1955 to 1965 there was a war right in the middle of America. No, it wasn’t a war like World War II or the Revolutionary War. It was a war for the heart and soul of this country to determine once and for all if America was really going to be a land of equal opportunity for all. It is a war that eventually took on the name of “The Civil Rights Movement.”


We must make no mistake, this was not just a shouting match. Some of the events that we even remember today became quite brutal and deadly. Those who fought in this war on both sides were deadly serious about the causes they represented and willing to fight and even die to see their cause succeed. The war waged for years and steady progress was made but not without tremendous sacrifice by the leaders of the movement who were committed to a giving a new meaning to the phrase “set my people free.”


In all of black history, there may be no more significant a time since the Civil War when the rights of African Americans were so deeply fought and won. The tensions in the country had been building. When the Supreme Court mandated desegregation in the schools in the historic case Brown versus the Board of Education, the stage was set. But it was on December 1, 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama to a white man that the movement finally took shape and became a titanic struggle for the rights of African Americans in America. That first battle brought to the front line one of the most important figures to fight for Civil Rights of that era, the Reverend Martin Luther King.


This tremendous struggle for freedom was never easy and was often marked with violence. Over the next ten years some of the most important milestone in black history took place including…


* 1957 – President Eisenhower had to send federal troops to Arkansas to secure admission to Central High School by nine black students.


* 1960 – The sit-in at Woolworths lunch counter in Greensboro North Carolina set the stage for nonviolent protest that was used with great success for the rest of the struggle. Nonviolent protest and civil disobedience became a staple of the civil rights movement because of the influence of Martin Luther King.


* 1963 – The historic March on Washington in which over 200,000 people gathered to hear Dr. Kings famous “I Have a Dream” speech.


* 1964 – President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill that was the most significant event of his presidency and one he believed deeply in, the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


* 1965 – The assignation of Malcolm X and the Watts race rights.


* 1965 – President Johnson takes another bold step to accelerate the civil rights movement implementing Affirmative Action when he issues Executive Order 11246.


This short list is just a few of the highlights of this troubled time in which the rights of all citizens of American, black and white and of all colors were being redefined both on the streets, in the courts and in the different branches of government. In the years to come there would be great steps forward. One by one, every area of American life would see breakthroughs by African Americans in the areas of sports, entertainment, education and politics. There were many proud moments and there were moments of tremendous shame and heinous acts committed by both white and black people. But through all that struggle, the society continued to grow and adapt to the will of the people as has always been the tradition in American culture.


The struggle is far from over. Discrimination and hate speech continue to be a problem to this day. And while it is easy to reflect on those days of struggle with regret, we can also look at them with pride. We can be proud of the great leaders who demonstrated tremendous courage and wisdom to lead this nation to a better way of life. And we can be proud of America because it is here where such a struggle can result in equality and freedom for all citizens, not just a few.




Black history has been a progressive climb from without the lowest echelons of society during slavery to the highest. When you think of black history, we often think of the civil rights movement, of John Brown’s violent protests, of the Underground Railroad. But black history doesn’t end with any one event. It is always in the process of being made every da


Even in the last ten years, huge steps forward have been made at the very top governmental positions by notable and highly qualified black Americans who are making all of us proud in the contributions they are making to America. Colin Powell was an accomplished general who demonstrated with quiet dignity and authority that he could lead many men into battle. He was rewarded for his valiant efforts finally reaching the very top levels of the government serving as President Bush’s Secretary of State in his first administration. Throughout the halls of government and anywhere Secretary Powell served, he was treated with respect and the honor that he deserved for serving his country so wel


Following the honorable service of Colin Powell a just as distinguished public servant, a black woman by the name of Condoleezza Rice. It was a proud day when she stepped into that office showing how far America had come from the days when blacks could not eat in the same restaurants as whites or drink from the same drinking fountains. And her service has been just as distinguished, meeting with heads of state from Africa to Europe to the Middle East to South America and making great accomplishments throughout her caree


These two black Americans are true examples of Doctor King’s vision of people who were recognized not for the color of their skin but the content of their character. Their excellence as leaders and their amazing resume’s they brought to their jobs provide tremendous inspiration to black boys and girls in school that they too can rise up in this society and go as far as they want to go if they let their natural gifts and skills come to the surface. They do not need a government program or special help to succeed. America has far to go but Dr. Rice and General Powell are examples that the system can reward black people of excellence and will not over look the contributions they can make to America’s futur


And now we are on that part of black history that is yet to be. The future is a part of black history yet to be written. And we witness another black leader of excellence preparing to be considered for the very top position of power in the country, perhaps in the world, the presidency of the United States. And as with General Powell and Dr. Rice, Barrack Obama will not be judged as a black man or in the context of the racial struggle in this country. Already he is being admired and praised for his leadership, his eloquence and his ability to bring new vision to this country. It is a day of pride for all of black America to see Barrack Obama be considered for this position. He will have to work hard and be judged on his talents, skills, experience and ability to lead. But it’s a testimony to how far the country has come that he has just as much of a chance to win that election as any other candidate. And if he wins he will knock down one more barrier to black people and throughout African American society, children will be able to say, there is nothing I cannot do if I try hard. And that is the vision every civil right leader since the civil war has wanted for blacks in Americ




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In the history of any great people, sometimes there is a singular moment that so sums up that struggle and challenges the hearts of the people of the time that this moment becomes one that is both historic and mythical. In the long history the African American in this country, one such singular moment was the delivery of what has come to be referred to as the “I have a dream” speech during the historic March on Washington in August of 196


There are many things about this speech that are so poetic that the text of the speech has become one of the great historic texts of the nation’s history as well as of black history. That is why virtually any school child can recite the most stirring words from the speech which ar


And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their characte


What is most striking about this text if you read the entire text is the hope. And it’s a wonderful tradition for every family to read this speech, perhaps on Martin Luther’s King’s birthday which is now a national holiday. Dr. King called upon his people to look up and look with hope toward tomorrow. But more than that, he called on all people to work together toward a shared hope, a hope of fulfilling the American dream that he discusses with such passion in his word


The setting for the speech was on the steps of the Lincoln memorial, within view of the Congress, the reflecting pool and the White House on the National Mall in the center Washington D.C. Dr. King called it hallowed ground reflecting his deep reference and respect for the icons of this country and his deep love of country which too comes through in the speec


But it is a speech of struggle because he spoke of the fact that black people in America were still not living in an openly free and equal status with all other citizens. Dr King did not loose touch with the reality of the tough lives African Americans were living in the United States. That is why this speech is so perfectly crafted and so perfectly delivered. It combines the harsh reality and resolve by black leaders and the African American population to make the world better for themselves and their children with a hope and an optimism that this was a country that would not put up with the oppression and discrimination that has kept black people down ever since slaver


It is a speech that issued a call to action in the time frame of “Now” which was a call to action that many in the houses of power in our country took heed. They did take action immediately to get the process of renewal and repair of a broken social system moving in the right direction. One of the outcomes of this speech was the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 which changed the fabric of the country forever in the legal restrictions it put on discrimination in every aspect of American lif


If it had not been for the “I have a dream” speech, the March on Washington on that hot and humid August day might have just been another in the many protests and events of the civil rights era. Instead it became an iconic moment in American and black history that changed Dr. King into a national hero for black and white people alike and energized a movement and a nation to take matters into their own hands and make thing better for all peopl





Black history has been a progressive climb from without the lowest echelons of society during slavery to the highest. When you think of black history, we often think of the civil rights movement, of John Brown’s violent protests, of the Underground Railroad. But black history doesn’t end with any one event. It is always in the process of being made every day.


Even in the last ten years, huge steps forward have been made at the very top governmental positions by notable and highly qualified black Americans who are making all of us proud in the contributions they are making to America. Colin Powell was an accomplished general who demonstrated with quiet dignity and authority that he could lead many men into battle. He was rewarded for his valiant efforts finally reaching the very top levels of the government serving as President Bush’s Secretary of State in his first administration. Throughout the halls of government and anywhere Secretary Powell served, he was treated with respect and the honor that he deserved for serving his country so well.


Following the honorable service of Colin Powell a just as distinguished public servant, a black woman by the name of Condoleezza Rice. It was a proud day when she stepped into that office showing how far America had come from the days when blacks could not eat in the same restaurants as whites or drink from the same drinking fountains. And her service has been just as distinguished, meeting with heads of state from Africa to Europe to the Middle East to South America and making great accomplishments throughout her career.


These two black Americans are true examples of Doctor King’s vision of people who were recognized not for the color of their skin but the content of their character. Their excellence as leaders and their amazing resume’s they brought to their jobs provide tremendous inspiration to black boys and girls in school that they too can rise up in this society and go as far as they want to go if they let their natural gifts and skills come to the surface. They do not need a government program or special help to succeed. America has far to go but Dr. Rice and General Powell are examples that the system can reward black people of excellence and will not over look the contributions they can make to America’s future.


And now we are on that part of black history that is yet to be. The future is a part of black history yet to be written. And we witness another black leader of excellence preparing to be considered for the very top position of power in the country, perhaps in the world, the presidency of the United States. And as with General Powell and Dr. Rice, Barrack Obama will not be judged as a black man or in the context of the racial struggle in this country. Already he is being admired and praised for his leadership, his eloquence and his ability to bring new vision to this country. It is a day of pride for all of black America to see Barrack Obama be considered for this position. He will have to work hard and be judged on his talents, skills, experience and ability to lead. But it’s a testimony to how far the country has come that he has just as much of a chance to win that election as any other candidate. And if he wins he will knock down one more barrier to black people and throughout African American society, children will be able to say, there is nothing I cannot do if I try hard. And that is the vision every civil right leader since the civil war has wanted for blacks in America.

Sometimes when a people are under their most oppression, that is when they truly are at their best it seems. And that adage could certainly be applied to those who operated the Underground Railroad in the 19th century while slavery was still the law of the land in America.


The Underground Railroad was a means by which literally tens of thousands of slaves were able to escape their oppressors and make their way north to free states and a chance for freedom. It was so secretive that even to speak of it meant discovery and terrible punishment. But worse that that if it had been discovered by those who would stop slaves from finding their way out, it would have meant the end of hope for thousands of African Americans who were enduring the injustice of slavery.


The term “The Underground Railroad” was itself a code because that actual mechanism for moving slaves to freedom was not a railroad at all. It was a series of stops, connected by obscure routes that wound their way through the countryside. The routes were twisted and illogical so those seeking to catch slaves and return them to bondage would be hard pressed to figure out the ways those seeking freedom might travel.


There was no published route for the Underground Railroad. “Passengers” made their way from safe house to safe house taking refuge in homes, churches and other out of the way locations that became known as “stations” to those in the know. Very often, the people who ran the stations along the path had no idea how long the railroad was or anything about the whole route. They simply knew enough to receive their “passengers”, do all they could for their health and care and send them along with instructions on how to reach the next station.


The routes were treacherous and difficult. Slaves trying to reach freedom usually walked the routes from station to station to avoid public gathering places where slave chasers might find them and send them back to their owners in the south. And just as there was no real “railroad” to the Underground Railroad, the routes themselves were not actually under the ground. However many times at the safe houses, the owners will secure their guests in tunnels under the house or under a farm building.


At one such safe house in Nebraska City, Nebraska, there is a tunnel from the house to the barn so that if the farmer was feeding a needy family, they could quickly “disappear” if slave hunters arrived without notice. There were also roughly dug out bedrooms and crude accommodations under those houses to provide as much comfort and opportunities to rest and recover as was humanly possible under such difficult conditions.


We cannot leave our consideration of this phenomenal network without recognizing the courage of those who ran the “stations” to take in slaves, harbor them, feed them and care for their needs and help them along the way to try to do what they could to strike back at this inhuman practice of human slavery. It is a testimony to humanity that people would overcome their prejudices and reach out to strangers, putting their own homes and families at risk to help a downtrodden people in their time of great need.


And we must take a solemn moment and look back on a dark time in American and Black history when such measures were necessary. But the Underground Railroad spoke loudly that real Americans would not sit idly by and watch their fellow man suffer unjustly. There is no doubt that tens of thousands of lives were saved by these anonymous heroes who didn’t do it for reward or recognition. They did it because it was the right thing to do and the thing God would expect them to do. It is an inspiration to us all in this day to lay down our own prejudices and bond together as brothers to resist prejudice, bigotry and mans cruelty to man because of these evils. If we do that we will know in our hearts, like those slaves on the railroad and the station owners knew, that there would come a better day.



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