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College…and the rest of the story.
Know your history.

    Black Africans were transported to the Americas 200 years before the United States was founded, long before most British and European emigrants arrived. Not all blacks survived the "Middle Passage." The ones who did were sold as slaves. Almost every British colony in the New World participated in this trade, although in the North mainly, their "free labor" was not required.

When 13 of these former British colonies broke away to unite as a new nation based on freedom, and yet maintaining life "as usual," intricate negotiation was required to get all thirteen states to agree—written into the new Constitution was a formula to deal with slaves in the census (counting 3/5th of a person for every slave, but not allowing them to actually vote).

By the 1830s, Britain had declared slavery to be outlawed throughout the British Empire. Within a generation, the question of how "united" was the "United States" arose with a vengeance when eleven Southern states "seceded" from the Union, which precipitated what is now called the Civil War.

After four years of battle, the South was defeated; the slaves were freed, the Union was saved. However, with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the Reconstruction Era soon became chaotic, segregation and "Jim Crow" practices became common; racial tensions often resulted in systematic violence. A hundred years later, the Civil Rights Act made progress toward equality under the law, but not necessarily in common practice.

The great ideal that America broadcasts to the world is that all persons are of equal value under the law. Making that a living reality is a continuing task.

Though not strictly historical, Shakespeare's Othello four hundred years ago in another country features a black man (a "Moor") married to a white woman, which seems to be an issue only to the woman's father; otherwise, no special consideration is given to that circumstance. This book is a Shakespeare Playbook for Directors.

Harriet Beecher Stowe      

War Poetry       Lincoln/Davis

Paul Laurence Dunbar


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