The Black Community In Roll Of Thunder

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The Black Community In ?Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry? Essay, Research Paper In the nineteenth Century, in the United States of America, there was a distinctive division of the northern states and the southern states. During this time, the North was prospering with New York becoming an important business centre of the world. The North was certainly more industrialised than the South, which was much more agriculturally based. Huge plantations of land were built to harvest products such as cotton and sugar. However, due to the amount of work involved, cheap labour was favourable to most plantation owners. One source of this cheap labour came in the form of slavery, a custom that has existed across the world for thousands of years, but these slaves were obtained by capturing and

brutally transporting young Africans from South Africa. Out of every 200 slaves that were sent off from Africa, it is said that a mere 60 survived, and even then, were close to death. They were whipped until they bled and were washed with salt water, which must have been agonising. They were barely fed and locked in the hull of the ship like livestock. Considering the average time for a North Atlantic crossing was three months, the amount of brutality they were subjected to must have been horrendous. Once they arrived in America, the slaves were sold to wealthy families or plantation owners. If they were lucky, they would be sold to a good master, but invariably, they were treated as objects, to be worked until they died. Many tried to escape, few succeeded, and if caught, they

were severely punished. Cruel masters punished their slaves depending on the crime, but it usually involved losing a limb. The Northern part of the USA strongly believed that slavery was cruel and wrong. The arguments between the North and the South were mainly over interpretations of the US constitution. These quarrels continued into the 1860?s, the time that Abraham Lincoln became President. In 1861, the American Civil War broke out between the North and the South. At first, the North was fighting for the reunification of the two sides to form a great USA again, but the South was fighting for its independence. However, when President Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation, the motive changed. The South fought against the abolition of slavery and the North fought for its

abolition. The Northern victory in 1865 secured the end of slavery for good. In the years following, came the period of racial adjustment and all slaves were liberated. This was much to Southern white people?s dissatisfaction, who had grown up believing that black people were inferior to them. Plantations still needed to be worked and so for the first time ever, black people were paid for their work, however, the wages were very low. Due to the fact that many liberated slaves had no other skills and no financial security, a large percentage returned to the plantations. The Logan family was very lucky to have their own land. The Avery?s were a typical family ?sharecropping? on a plantation. The story of how the Logan?s acquired their land is told by Big Ma in chapter four. As

little as five years after the end of the American Civil War, black people were starting to be treated as animals again. Many laws that made black people equal were rejected and reversed. The Ku Klux Klan was a secret organisation dedicated to restoring white superiority. Black people, whether they were old, young, male or female were subjected to a great deal of hatred. They were lynched, then either burnt alive, castrated, blinded with hot pokers or decapitated, or maybe a mixture of each. The American government did not do anything to stop these atrocities; they went on without consent or trial. An example of this in the book is when Mr Morrison tells of how his family was killed by ?night men? in chapter seven. Into the twentieth century, black people continued to be bullied