Africa Americans are among the largest ethnic groups living in the US. The group has African entry although most have non-black ancestors there.
Here in this article, we will discuss:
- Black population in the United States
- Why slavery came to America ?
- How Blacks arrived in America?
- Origin of slaves
Black Population in the United States
- According to Britannica, they reported that black Americans have been more than half of the country’s population since the 21st century. Therefore black lives matter in the US. It is estimated that there are more than 36 million black people living in the south wherefrom the 10 southern states have more black people exceeding one million.
- Moreover, African Americans have been concentrated in large cities. For example, New York City is estimated to have more than 2 million African American people and Chicago has around a million.
- For other states such as Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago, each of them had a black American population between 500,000 to 1 million.
- Black Americans are largely descendants of the slaves. That is from the people brought from their African homelands and forced to work in their new world. During that time, they had limited rights where they were also denied a rightful share of the political, social, and economic progress in the new countries.
- Nevertheless, these black Americans have therefore made a great contribution to the culture and history of America.
Why Slavery Came in America?
- There was a high need to satisfy the labor for the rapidly growing colonies in the US. That is how the white European settlers enslaved Africans to fulfill the high demand for cheap labor.
- After 1969, that is when a Dutch ship transported the slaves into Jamestown, Virginia which was a British colony.
- Later, slavery did spread fast to all American colonies. Although there are no accurate figures about enslaved people, some historians have estimated it to be about 6-7 million people. These people were imported into their new world as the white people continued to deprive African countries of their valuable resources. To be taken as a salve, one had to be a healthier and able man or woman as reported by History.
- History also indicated that, when the American Revolution ended, most of the colonies that were located in North America – slaves were unimportant – started linking the oppression of enslaved Africans. That is where some leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington had to be cautious as they limited slavery.
- In the constitution, it tacitly acknowledged the institutions that allowed the right to possess an individual held to labor which was a euphemism for slavery.
- In the 18th century, many of the northern states had already abolished slavery although the institution was still useful at the southern.
- In the south, black people still constituted a minority of the population as the economy relied on the production of cotton and tobacco.
- In 1808, the congress did outlaw the importation of new slaves. However, over a period of 50 years, the enslaved population had already tripled in the US such that in 1860, the black Americans were more than 4 million.
- Although, half of the black population were living in the Southern states working at cotton-producing fields.
How Blacks Arrived in America?
- During the early exploration of America, it was the Africans that helped the Portuguese and Spanish.
- At around 16th Century, there were some blacks explorers who did settle along Mississippi Valley and those areas are the current New Mexico and South Carolina. There were many black explorers but the one who is most celebrated was Esteban, as he had traveled in the 1530s through Southwest.
- The history of black, therefore became uninterrupted after 20 Africans landed in the colony of Virginia. Although they were not slaves, these individuals were indentured servants as they had been bound to their employer for a specific number of years. That is when large numbers of African slaves started being brought into English colonies by the 1660s.
- As more slaves continue to arrive, that is how by 1790 that the black people population was estimated to be 760,000 and was nearly one-fifth of the United States population.
- In 1661, there was an attempt to hold the black servants such that they had to work beyond their normal term in Virginia but it spread to all English colonies by 1750.
- During that time, they could easily distinguish black people because of their skin color and that is how they became an easy target for enslavement. Also, there was a belief that black came from an inferior race that had a heathen culture. So, that made the Europeans to easily rationalize the black slavery. These enslaved blacks had to work in clearing and cultivating American farmlands in their new places.
Origin of Slaves
- Most of the slaves came from western African countries stretching from Senegal to Angola. In these African countries, their political and social organizations were well established. They also had advanced in their art such as music and dance.
- At the African Coast, there were major kingdoms emerging such as Benin, Ashanty, Oyo, Dahomey, and Congo. Others such as Ghana, Songhai, and Mali had risen in the interior of Sudan. Some African cities such as Timbuktu and Djenne which are currently in Mali had become major commercial and centers for education.
- As selling slaves had become profitable and increasing in these regions, some Africans started selling captives to Europeans. Those captured were marched in chains and then crowded into slave ships where they were dreaded across the ocean into America. Disease, shock, and suicide resulted in the deaths of many slaves during the crossing.
- According to the National Geography report, in 1619, there were 20 and odd Angolans that were kidnapped by Portuguese. These black slaves arrived in British Colony located in Virginia before being taken to American colonists. Black people lacked freedom, but in the current century, black lives matter!
The Final Verdict
The story and data of Africans who were enslaved have become a symbol of slavery roots. These captive Africans were taken to regions that are currently in the United States. No one has the right to own a slave or do slavery trade across the world as Aclu stated. Through it all, different black artists, writers, and leaders have emerged and helped to shape the identity and character of the nation. That is why black lives matter.