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Black History Ideas & Themes


    • Slavery played an enormous rule in the formation of America. Much of its early economy was based on slave labor and it was one of the causes of the Civil War. Originally, slavery was spread through all 13 colonies, but following the Revolutionary War, it existed only in the South. Led by Frederick Douglass, the idea of abolition took hold during the post-Revolutionary years. Douglass was a newspaper editor and orator who used his public position to bring attention to the abolitionist movement. At the same time, Harriet Tubman was a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad who, after escaping from slavery, returned to the South 19 times to bring others to freedom in Canada. Abraham Lincoln would grant freedom to the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation, but that did little to dispel the effects that slavery had on America.

    The Civil Rights Movement

    • The Emancipation Proclamation did little to alter the state of affairs between white and black America. Abraham Lincoln's declaration that "all men are created equal" was converted in the minds of many Americans into "separate but equal." In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court did away with this notion and during the next 15 years, the Civil Rights Movement took center stage in America. It was during this time that Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and many others fought to grant equal rights to all American citizens. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 are two important pieces of legislation that were passed during this era that helped mandate equality among all races to America.

    Accomplishments of Past African Americans

    • The election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States is viewed by many as the fulfillment of all the past accomplishments of African Americans. He's only one of many influential African Americans who've helped mold the country into what it is today. Booker T. Washington founded the Tuskegee Institute and the National Negro Business League. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the famous "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Long before ideas about sustainable resources and green agriculture became catch words, George Washington Carver was already researching the field. Their accomplishments should be celebrated so that future generations can have a better understanding of America's past.

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