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Notion idea of progress : have african americans achieved recognition today ?

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The idea of progress can be defined as an improvement, a development or a change – a technical, scientific or social advance which contributes to making the world a better place. We are going to focus on social progress with the evolution of African Americans in the US society.

→ Have African Americans achieved recognition today ?

We will deal with the different steps of recognition. First, we will review slavery and its abolition, then the segregation, and finally the situation today, between recognition and inequalities.

I- What was it like to be a slave

So let’s begin with slavery and what it is was like to be a slave. First, we know that Black people were not considered as humans, indeed, they were like objects, machines or tools for their owners. As an example, we studied a poster announcing an auction sale were slaves were presented just as animals. Furthermore, some of them have given evidence of what they have endured. We have studied some of these testimonies in class. Former slaves explained that they worked most of the time in plantations or farms, they grew up cotton and took care of cattle. They could also do butcher or blacksmith work, or be servants. But they were not allowed to learn how to read and write, they had rules to respect and if they did not, they were punished. But those punishments were inhuman, cruel. For example, they were whipped by other slaves because their master or owner ordered it, in order that the torment was physical and mental.

But in 1865, President Lincoln abolished slavery by the establishment of Amendment 13 in the US Constitution. This was the first step for African Americans recognition.

II- Segregation

Even if slavery was abolished, Black people were not considered as citizens. Indeed, they were still lower on the social scale. Black and white people did not have the same rights and were separated. But this segregation was violent, even against children. For example, we studied a painting by Norman Rockwell and an article by Louise Elliot in the Toronto Star about the same event. A little black girl, 6 years old, was going to school, the same school than white children, which was unthinkable for white people. So they decided to intimidate her, by shouting at her, throwing tomatoes, placards designed to terrify her, and even a black doll in a baby sized coffin.

So we can say that, at that time, meaning until 1964, African Americans had not achieved recognition.

III- Today

In 1964, President Johnson signed the end of segregation. Was it the achievement of Black people recognition ? Well, this is a bitter sweet end. Indeed, on the one hand, Barack Obama’s presidency can be seen as the height of recognition for black people, but on the other hand, there are still inequalities and discrimination. For example, some movements like Black Lives Matter (2013) have been created to protest against police violence, because black people were killed for no reasons by people or police officers and people were acquitted. So, under the presidency of the first Black President, African Americans still suffered from injustices and discrimination.

As a conclusion, the status


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