The African-American Civil Rights Movement

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The African-American Civil Rights Movement: 1565 to 1945 and Beyond America did not invent slavery. “Man has enslaved his fellow man since prehistoric times. While the conditions of servitude varied, slave labor was employed by the ancient Mesopotamian, Indian, and Chinese civilizations, in classical Greece and Rome, and in pre-Colombian America by the native Aztec, Inca, and Mayan empires” (Friedman, 3). The American Civil Rights movement is often thought of as a series of events that occurred in this country between 1945 and 1975, although some consider the culmination of this movement to be the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968. In fact, the chronology of the struggle by African Americans to be free from the shackles of slavery really started well over four hundred years ago. This essay will explore the broader history of events that document this struggle, from the 16th century until 1945, in order to illustrate that the Civil Rights Movement is a long-standing and continuing effort to ensure that African Americans have all of the same rights and privileges as do other ethnic and racial segments of our society. The history of slaves in America dates back to the time of Columbus. Around the time Columbus was making his famous voyage to this country, it was common practice for the Spanish to use African slaves (typically supplied by the Portuguese) to perform labor work in the various colonies of their empire in their first visits to America, the Spanish actually “saved on shipping” and picked up their slaves on the way from islands on the Caribbean. From a supply and demand standpoint, this policy only worked until approximately 1520, when the Spanish ran out of easily obtainable slaves in the islands close to the southeastern area of America. The first really successful Spanish settlement in America was in northern Florida at

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