AFAS/SOC 220 – 001
The African American Struggle for Assimilation
Rommina Aguilar Soto
The road to freedom has proved to be far more complicated than expected for African Americans. With the abolition of slavery, free African Americans were still victims of cruel treatment and racial prejudices that followed them well into the 20th century. The evolution of African American society from the Civil War up until today has proven to be remarkable. The struggle to obtain equality gave birth to black leaders and a strong Civil Rights movement that forever changed African American history. From slaves to suppressed people, African Americans have fought for their rights and transformed the perception of racism in America.
The end of the civil war in 1865 marked an important change for all African Americans. The victory of the Union and the abolition of slavery became a turning point for African American. After almost 3 decades of slavery, it had finally come to an end. While the Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery, African Americans had to deal with a great wave of hatred and unfair reforms. One of the first problems they faced was the lack of education and private property. Slave owners had provided them with different forms of shelter and food, but once they abandoned the plantations, African Americans had neither land nor the money to build new homes. The need for jobs would usually push African Americans back to working in the plantation fields in a peonage type of labor with very low wages.
In an attempt to improve the living conditions of African Americans, congress created the Freedmen’s Bureau. The Freedmen’s Bureau served as an agency to assimilate African Americans into freedom. The Agency had enormous responsibilities to carry out considering they had to help a large number of people whom required help. They’re main job was to provide food, medical treatment, education, and negotiate job contracts with white planters. The Freedmen’s Bureau...