Choose the correct answer for each question.
In 1619 twenty Africans landed at Jamestown, Virginia and were sold into slavery. The history of the Negroes in America is deeply rooted in African culture whose own rich heritage flourished under its own kings.
The early European colonies in America looked for a supply of cheap labor to use on their plantations and found it in West Africa. By the 19th century millions of Negroes were involved in the slave trade to work in the fields, plantations and mines of the Americas. They worked to harvest rice, tobacco and cotton and by the end of the 18th century they could be found throughout Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia.
Many in America did not feel comfortable about slavery and the idea of man's natural rights was expressed in the Declaration of Independence which stated that
"all men are created equal." The idea to be free was the ideal behind the American Revolution.
The life of the Negro slave was not an easy one. He was forced to work long hours and lived under harsh colonial laws. Some obeyed their masters out of fear, others who were bolder tried to revolt. But most slaves were not hard to control and their lives became easier if they remained submissive.
They found comfort in Christianity and from this evolved their own songs known as Spirituals which were among the first songs created in America by the Americans.
There were some people known as Abolitionists who wanted to do away with slavery and a growing debate developed between those who favored slavery and those who were opposed. It became a moral issue which almost divided the country and culminated in the Civil War (1861-1865).
After the war the black slaves numbering close to four million were freed but their life was not easy. They were not prepared for their new independence. They needed to be assimilated into the culture of the white society and this was not always successful.
The 20th century saw a rise in prejudice against blacks as they were free in name only and were denied most of the right and benefits of American life. Many blacks left the south and moved up north which seemed to promise a better life, but in the north their living conditions grew worse and opportunities for them diminished. They lived in poor neighborhoods called ghettoes and faced bitter prejudice.
It was not until the 1960s that civil rights organizations won important victories for the black people and a charismatic leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became a symbol of the black people's quest for equality and true freedom. His tragic death in 1968 led to the passage of the Civil Rights Bill which has created many opportunities for blacks with the hope of living in a truly integrated society.