In recent years, the United States has seen a number of racially motivated attacks and protests against people of color and the statutes regarding them. Americans have seen the clashes of white supremacists and people against racism in general. The most violent one being in Charlottesville, Virginia. Things like this comes as no surprise when people fight other people that disagree with their own viewpoint; but to know how all of this started, we have to go far back in time. Farther than the Civil War, but back to the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
When America was still a very young country, U.S. ships would go to West Africa to kidnap people indiscriminately. American’s would kidnap peasants to kings of the nation. They would shove them onto a boat and barely feed and allow them to move as so the new found slaves wouldn’t lose the ability to walk. When the journey back to America was over, slaves would be sold for a certain price at an auction and live their new lives as a slave.
The reason why Americans have so unfavorable views of people of color is because of the discrimination that people of color went through. America was the very first country to ever discriminate someone into slavery by the color of their skin and not their social status. In America at the peak of the slave trade, anyone whose skin color was not white would become a slave. This is where the illusion of white people being better than blacks came from. It wouldn’t be until the end of the Civil War that the hate for blacks would become wide spread across the South, especially across the states that seceded from the Union in the start of the Civil War.
After the Confederate States of America was defeated in the Civil War, Congress passed the 13th and 14th Amendment to ensure the freed slaves would stay free.The South’s economy was based on cotton and the people who would do the kind of cotton picking were slaves. Without slaves, the cotton industry went into ruin and so did the South’s economy. Many people blamed the slaves for the cause of the massive drop in the South’s economy and that is what formed the birth of the KKK. The KKK held protests against people of color and actively tried to stop Blacks from running in any government position. The Ku Klux Klan would lead violence against black schools, churches, or anything that had black people attending it. This hate would die down when the Klu Klux Klan Act of 1871 was passed.
Of course the story does not end in 1871. When the new century was still young, Jim Crow laws stood out to separate black people and white people. This would be the stepping stones for segregated schools and even water fountains. Supreme Court case Plessy Vs. Ferguson is what made it legal for segregation, on the basis that as long as say a water fountain stay separate but the same, it is equal and the question of Equal Protection was not brought up.
When a whole 30 years would go by, the Klan emerged again in places among the south putting up statues of Confederate Generals such as Robert E. Lee. The resurgence of the Klan would happen because of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s and 50’s. The Civil Rights Act would be passed in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act being passed just one year later. With these acts in place, it would make it illegal for anyone to segregate someone by the color of his/her skin and anyone would be able to vote as long as they’re over the age limit.
Of course, this enraged many segregationists and would lead to more violence.
Fast forward to the present; now we have what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Rodney King case, and more. All of this hate instigated because of the Atlantic Slave trade. With the present controversial issues still happening, it seems as though we as a nation haven’t learned from our history. If anything, it seems as though history is repeating itself and we are headed back to the days where people of color were discriminated against and it was legally okay to do so.