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West African and African American Cultures - Before and After Emancipation Essay Example

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West African and African American Cultures - Before and After Emancipation

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West African and African American Cultures - Before and After Emancipation. The African American’s perspectives regarding the meaning and significance of Africa remains unclear; thereby affecting the identity problems of black people in America. The western stereotypical view of Africa as a land of wild people and wild animals affects the way African Americans think about Africa. The white disparagement of Africa was mainly to support imperialist interests and to rationalize “slavery and oppression of the descendants of Africa in their land of captivity” (Magubane, 1987, p.Black people were deprived of autonomy and control of their own future. The main purpose of racism and cruel ideological persecution was to induce self-contempt and alienation from Africa. In order to find a new place in the world of white supremacy, black people had to find a new identity (Eyerman, 2001).

During the civil war and reconstruction, the foundations of American democracy were challenged, while establishing the place of African Americans in that democracy (Kelley & Lewis, 2005).Even after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect from 1863, freedom from slavery took place gradually, and did not occur simultaneously all over the southern part of America, with its plantations and slave strongholds. It was clear that even after freedom was attained, the black people would not be treated as equals, on par with the whites. Several African American abolitionist leaders were highly motivated in leading their fellow Africans back to their homeland, where they could live a better life as equal citizens, and work towards nation building (White, 2005).However, the factors that discouraged African Americans from returning to their homeland included: the settlers of African origin having troubled relationships with the surrounding African tribes; the adverse impact of African diseases on settlers, and most importantly the feeling that America was their own country. Over the passage of several centuries, and as their birth place, it formed the basis of their identity. Moreover, after all their sacrifices to America, they felt that it was a great injustice on them if they had to leave due to racism. Black pride called for black separatism, self-improvement and self-reliance. The system of slavery was so deeply entrenched, that it took the American civil war (1861-1865) to bring it to an end (White, 2005).Though the African Americans were not treated equally, and were forced to remain in subordinate. West African and African American Cultures - Before and After Emancipation.

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