Posted: November 28th, 2013
Black Emigration from the US
Explain the Plea of the Black Americans from the Us
The plea on the African Americans to move out of United States was an expression of their cry for freedom. This was in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. African Americans lived in a society where their rights were not recognized as inherent features. Instead, discriminatory laws were passed by the legislature. These laws reduced them to dogs. An example of such a law was the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act (Shadd, 2010). This law stipulated that every law enforcement agent was required to return a runaways slave to his master. The African Americans were led to believe that they would never be able to achieve equality in America. This was their basis for the plea to emigrate. They believed that setting up social, political and economic structures that were independent from those of the United States would equate to their freedom. They therefore wanted to seek refuge in other lands like Africa, Canada and Haiti.
Slavery caused a major strain in the lives of the African Americans. Indians and African Americans were subject to the cruelty embedded in America’s propagation of slavery. In the early eighteenth century, America desired to free itself from the oppressive rule of Britain (Schneider & Schneider, 2001). This was after an awakening concerning the need for man to be free. Theorists such as John Locke attributed to this awakening. He suggested that the rights of man were embedded in natural law (Paul, Miller & Paul, 2005). This meant that man, by virtue of being human, was entitled to some rights. This was regardless of his race and nationality. Ironically, the Americans selectively chose to apply this philosophy to their own situation of being captives of the British rule. They continued to practice slavery among the Indians and African Americans.
America was afraid to accept the wave of antislavery because of the implications it would have on its political, social and economical structures. The fear of the Americans was whether the freed slaves would be able to live up to what was expected of them as liberal individuals. In the political arena, it was feared that the African Americans would disrupt the political mood. This would be by forming political parties and championing for their rights. The Americans wanted to deprive the African Americans of political power. A good example of this was in 1875 when the Civil Rights Act was passed. The whole idea behind the legislation was to nullify the political strength of the African Americans. The economic implication that the abolition of slavery would have on the US was the loss of revenue. The slaves were used as labour in the farms of the Americans. With the abolition of slavery, there would be no one to replace them. Socially, the Americans wondered if they would be expected to treat the African Americans as equals. Despite the abolition of slavery, it would remain that the African Americans were inferior.
The Black Codes were an example of how the Americans prevented the African Americans from getting their rights. These codes put a strain on the civic and human liberties of the black Americans. Although certain rights had been availed to them, the African Americans were still receiving oppressive treatment. Some of these rights availed to them were like those of getting married and owning property. However, they were still denied rights like those of voting and testifying against the white people. The freedmen in the Southern states were treated like second-rate citizens. As much as they had been freed, they were still not considered full citizens. These codes were used the Americans to deny the African American social equality (Reiss, 1997). The occupations of the African Americans were also limited. Some were also prevented from owning land. Although there was the legal abolition of slavery by virtue of the Thirteenth Amendment, some judges still allowed American citizens to take up salves to work in their farms. The Thirteenth Amendment provided a mirage of hope. The African Americans were in dire need of freedom.
Was The Emigration Perceived As A Favorable Condition From Slavery?
The emigration of the African Americans was to be on a land where they felt emancipated. This would enable them to gain the rights and freedoms that they had been denied in the US. Canada was a good place to migrate to. This was because it held a climate that was conducive for farming. It did not receive extremities in terms of weather like the US. The weather would then be conducive for the colored people. Canada also held good soils. This gave the place superiority over the US. This was important in helping the African Americans to reconstruct their sense of worth. Canada had soils that yielded better produce than those of the US. The area was rich in timber, wheat and oats. Unlike the soils in the US, the land had not been exhausted enough to need the service of additives like fertilizers. The regularity of the weather patterns in Canada provides the farmers with a sense of security. This provided hope to an emigrant languishing in poverty.
With the endowment of resources like timber, there were very many job opportunities in Canada. Here a man is judged by his skill and not the color of his skin. Clients are attracted by the laborers’ output. The whites and African Americans co-exist without conflict arising from their race. They work together in harmony. The white man is not expected to work any harder than the white man is. The same yardstick is used to measure the level of their achievements. The African American is not degraded. He is availed to similar rights as those of the white man. The colored men are involved in different occupations without discrimination. This shows the benefits of settling in a country where slavery and racism is not taken into account. Each man is accorded to rights on the basis of being human.
Religion is important in reconstructing an individual’s esteem and self-worth. In Canada, there are churches that are common in all cities. Here the African Americans have a home. The churches that were initially built by the white Canadians have fully incorporated the black community. There are no reserved sitting places for the Black Americans. Their sitting positions are dependent on their preference. The members of the churches are both the whites and the blacks in equal percentages. In other churches, the population of the blacks surpasses that of the white community (Shadd, 2010). Other Canadians’ also express their empathy towards the suffering if the African Americans. In their honor, they have even erected African American churches. The emigrants also experience a great thirst for the spiritual truth. They show a need for the uncompromised interpretations of the scripture. This in turn will help with their restoration. This will open their eyes to an equality that extends to all humanity. This equality rises from the fact that all humanity has one God.
The African American emigrants also expressed a great desire to learn and to fill themselves with rich culture. Despite their ages, they were still admitted into the Canadian schools. Most of the African Americans were old and had passed the age of elementary learning. However, their age was not a hindrance to learning. There was no segregation in Canada. The African Americans were not excluded from learning with the rest of the Canadians. There was however, a claim for legal reformations that compelled the African Americans to create different schools for their children. However, there were opinions that countered this line of thought. The Canadian legislature then decided to grant the African Americans the freedom of choosing the course to follow. With a quorum, they could build a school for their children. At the same time, they were also allowed to admit their children into the schools that existed. In these schools, children of all complexions freely interact.
The emigrants settled together most of the times while at other times they were forced to disperse. They originally settled in government land. This land was later on cleared and improved. They led ordinary lives with some setting up schools. Their desire to learn surpassed that of other things. They would receive books from well-wishers in the US. However, these books did not help them much. This is because they were very irrelevant. They were the contents of old libraries that were in need of updating. These books did not quench the African American’s thirst for knowledge. They were mostly old novels and literature. The government of Canada did try its best to offer the schools with the necessary facilities.
The plea for emigration by the African Americans was sparked by their desire to experience life in its fullness. They wished to experience their rights. They also desired to be treated with equality that sprung from humanity. The conditions in the US during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries culminated the atrocities of the African Americans. They were treated as dogs. The ending of slavery did very little to salvage them from these sufferings. Their plea for emigration was a plea from the chains of slavery and discrimination based on race. Many areas allowed the African Americans to visualize the freedom that they desired. Such places were like Canada. Their emigration saw the beginning of living lives that were fulfilling.
The above question was chosen because the plight of the African Americans is an issue that has not been given a lot of emphasis I our modern society. I believe that these struggles must be resurrected for us to appreciate the freedom that men of different and diverse races enjoy today. History also provides a learning opportunity so that none of us applies the same inhumane treatment to the members of our societies.
Anokye A. D. & Brice-Finch J. (2003). Get it together: Reading about African American life. New York: Longman.
Carson, C., Lapsanksy-Werner, E. J., & Nash, G. B. (2007). The struggle for freedom: A history of African Americans. New York: Pearson & Longman.
Finkelman, P. (2006). Encyclopedia of African American history, 1619-1895: From the colonial period to the age of Frederick Douglass. New York: Oxford University Press.
Marable, M. & Mullings, L. (2003). Let nobody turn us around: An African American anthology. (2nd.). New York: Rowan & Littlefield.
Paul, E. F., Miller, F. D., & Paul, J. (2005). Natural rights liberalism from Locke to Nozick. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Reiss, O. (1997). Blacks in colonial America. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co.
Schneider, D. & Schneider, C. A., (2001). Slavery in America: An eyewitness history. NY: Checkmark Books.
Shadd, M. A. (2010). Plea for emigration, or, notes of canada west: In its moral, social, and political aspect with. S.l.: General Books.
Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.