To what extent do you agree with the opinion that the organisation of labour and Trade Unions served only to hinder the progress of Black Americans du

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To what extent do you agree with the opinion that the organisation of labour and Trade Unions served only to hinder the progress of Black Americans during the period 1865-1945?

Whilst some historians may claim that the organisation of labour and Trade Unions served only to inhibit the progress of Black Americans during the period 1865 (the year the Freedman’s Bureau was created)-1945 (the end of WW2 in Europe) there is a considerable amount of historical evidence that can be pointed to that refutes this claim.

Coming after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, which effectively granted slaves their freedom and gave them the opportunity to look for paid employment, the Freedmen’s Bureau was
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Whilst the aim of Sharecropping may have been to enable black freed slaves to gain respect as independent farmers, have enough food to provide for their family, with a surplus that they could sell on for money, this was not necessarily the case. In practice, although superficially the system appeared to be fair, it reduced many to a situation that was little better than slavery. Illiterate men were cheated by contracts which they did not understand. Plantation stores overcharged them and huge rates of interest were charged. It was also greatly difficult for respect to be gained, with unscrupulous landowners and a long history of racial prejudice in the South. Thus it can be argued that whilst the Sharecropping system looked good in theory, in practise it simply did not achieve its aims and certainly did not help the progress of Black Americans.

An influential figure in the progress of Black Americans, Marcus Garvey, an immigrant from Jamaica, arrived in New York in 1916 to fundraise for his Universal Negro Improvement Association in Jamaica. In 1917 he formed a branch of the UNIA in Harlem. In 1919 he began a series of UNIA economic initiatives, such as; the Negro Factories Corporation, set up to promote black run businesses, and the attempt to establish the Black Star Line (1919-21), an international black

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