African American Reaction to Freedom Essay

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Raul A. Rojas Dr. Donna M. Whyte HIS 216 09 October 2012 Section II: Take-Home, Open Book Essay Question #1: Discuss African Americans’ reaction to freedom after the emancipation. What would real freedom mean to them? Who were their allies and enemies in their struggle for freedom? African Americans reaction to freedom after the emancipation had many meanings to them. Most importantly for most former slaves, freedom meant that families would stay together. It also meant that women would no longer be sexually exploited, no more inappropriate touching, or rape by a white man. Freedom meant learning to read and write, gaining an education, also the organization of churches. Freedom meant moving around without having to obtain permission, and labor producing income for the worker and not the master. Freedom meant working without the whip, and being able to own and work on your self-owned land. Freedom meant you could not be arrested and jailed without trial before a jury. Freedom meant voting, citizenship, and overall having the same rights as white people. For Margrett Nillin, a former Texas slave, when asked if she preferred slavery or freedom, answered with the goods and bads of slavery and freedom, but choosing freedom over slavery. She says, “Well, it’s dis way, in slavery I owns nothin’ and never owns nothin’. In freedom I’s own de home and raise de family. All dat causes me worryment and in slavery I has no worryment but I takes freedom.” (AAO, Chapter 12). Emancipation was a disaster for former masters. Many of them didn’t know what to do when they were forced to free the slaves from their power. They were so accustomed to having the slaves do everything for them that ending it killed the masters. There were many different reactions from former slaves, in Goodman, Mississippi a slave named Caddy found out she was free and ran to find her owner. When she

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