Slave Trade(40493)Credit:

Not everything that's to make a mark on the history of African American citizenry is on the surface a positive thing.  But we know that there are some really terrible things that happened to the black population in America that are undeniably a huge part of the history of a people.  And so, any survey of black history would not be thorough without a discourse of slavery.

Few peoples have such a deeply humiliating event to become such a key part of their heritage and their past.  Yes, different tribes and races have put up with slavery including the American Indian and the ancient Hebrews.  Possibly slavery is even more pivotal to the psychology of the African American culture since it's the central historical event that established their beginning as citizens of this country.

It wasn't a citizenship born in nobility and honor as several others can point to in America.  Coming to America as slaves is to have come to America with little more value to their fellow Americans than usual livestock.  And without doubt, the lives of slaves in the first few decades of American history were really harsh times.  Slaves were maltreated and denied anything that we could call today even fundamental human rights. 

It's hard to acquire any perspective on such a heinous crime versus humanity as slavery but to put in context that this barbaric practice didn't originate in America but came to its shores as part of the setting of several people including the Dutch, the French and the English. 

In some manner slavery was a development of the system of indentured servant-hood where in an immigrant trades a particular number of years of servitude to a master in exchange for payment for their traveling costs to come to America.  But in the case of Africans who were brought in on ships as slaves, there was no desire to go along in chains to serve as property till death. 

The possibility of hope in that circumstance is virtually impossible for any of us, black or white, in contemporary America to comprehend or appreciate.  But the attempts of slaves to free themselves and indeed to finally do so using the Underground Railroad or different ways is a testament to human will and that hope is something that is exceedingly hard to crush out in the human heart.

Has anything good come forth of the legacy of slavery in this country?  Well, a connection that was formed in the hearts of a people was cemented for good throughout those horrible years.  The music that the slaves used to keep their hearts alive has been passed to us as a robust legacy of spirituals that we treasure because they were born out of inhuman suffering.  

One thing that was a permanent consequence of slavery in the African American community was the sense of firmness to never go back to such a time and a battle that was burned deep into the soul of a people to fight regardless of how long or how difficult to gain the civil rights of full citizens in this country.  This wouldn't have happened so profoundly had the peoples who arrived here and were distinguished solely by skin color not have braved slavery together.  Before the diverse peoples who became slaves were besought into service, they were from several tribes and many people all across Africa and beyond.  Their nationalities were tribal and they had the usual pride of a people, family relationships, customs and history that any people would have.  All of those were ripped away once they were taken into slavery.

But in the vacuum left by those all-important relationships, a new fraternity of African Americans was born.  And the pride that has surfaced in this new nation is strong and has persisted to build up throughout the decades.  It is built upon proud history and proud leadership.  There has been a lot of struggle and more difficulties and everything isn't perfect by any standard.  But the African American people could be proud of how far the culture has gone along and use that pride to push on toward greater achievements in the future.