FROM FIRST CONTACT TO THE CIVIL WAR
The survival of African Americans, whether enslaved or not, during the time between the 1619 and 1860 has been demonstrated to have relied very heavily on their culture and rites as practiced back at home in Africa. These cultural aspects and practices are probably the largest contributors to the extended and eventual emancipation of African Americans from their disadvantaged position in the society to that of equal members of the multi-ethnic American society. This paper seeks to investigate the life of African Americans, both enslaved or not, with respect to the time between their landings on the continent, to the start of America’s civil war. Aspects of their legal limitations about their right to dignified treatment and identification shall be visited with a few examples of events that best demonstrate the struggle for emancipation and freedoms from racial oppression.
The role of West African culture in the survival of enslaved and free African Americans
African culture has long used music for many reasons. Folk lore, oral traditions, lessons, history and other messages have for many centuries been passed on to the young through song. The West African part of the continent is particularly rich in the uses of music to bring together people to a common purpose using unique songs and music. Ramey states how “dances from the Akan of Ghana, and Yoruba of Nigeria are good examples of the use of music by African American slaves to keep the spirit of unity alive – something that became integral when the fight for emancipation was brought to life” (pg 133)....