How Does Race Affect History

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The perception of race has played a major part in the way Americans think about their history. Race continues to convince many people into the belief that American experience forms the exception in world history, the variation from structure that appears to hold for everybody else. Elsewhere, classes within society may have experienced difficulty over authority and freedom, over persecution and oppression, over competing discernment for morality and right; but in the United States, these were next in line after the underlying theme of race. Race has factored into social, economic, political and educational aspects in society in years past and even today.

Jamestown, founded in 1607 by the Virginia Company, was the first English settlement
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The first Africans arrived to Jamestown in 1619. Many of these Africans were kidnapped from his or her homelands in different parts of Africa, had his or her identity was stripped away and were given a new one, he or she were beaten, tortured, forced to “Christianize”, etc. At the time the first Africans arrived, he or she were indentured servants, not slaves. After many years of working, indentured servants became free and acquired land. The method of originating slavery based on a person’s race did not take place in the first years of settlement; race-based slavery began in the mid-1600’s. By the end of the 1660’s, slavery was reserved for Africans only. A series of laws were passed from the 1660’s to the 1680’s where African Americans became slaves for life. One law that passed in Virginia in 1662 said, “A child born to a slave mother is a slave. A child born to a free mother is free.” Another law that was passed in 1670 stated, “No Indian or free Negro can purchase a Christian, but they can purchase Indians and Negroes.” During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Virginia instructed other colonies on how to legally endorse human enslavement based on race. Even northern colonies with little need for …show more content…
The first being the laws that were passed that denied blacks the right to vote. Usually these were in the form of a literacy test which were more heavily enforced against blacks than against whites, but sometimes there were other devices that were used to achieve this black disempowerment. Not only were blacks denied the right to vote, but another law was passed in the South where the purpose was to prevent blacks from seeking better employment. Officially these laws did not have racial character, but their application was directed mainly at African Americans and it hindered their movement significantly. These types of laws were increased by various segregationist laws which excluded African Americans from white hotels, restaurants, schools, universities, and lowered blacks to segregated facilities in public transportation. On June 7, 1892, a thirty-year-old man by the name of Homer Plessy was jailed for sitting in the “White” car on the East Louisiana Railroad. When Louisiana passed the Separate Car Act in 1892, segregating common carriers, a black civil rights organization challenged the law in the court. Plessy purposefully sat in the white section of the courtroom but identified himself as black. He was arrested and his case made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The Plessy v. Ferguson case set the standard that segregated facilities for blacks and whites were lawful as long as they were equal.

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