Contemporary problems of American society (racism, feminism)
The first slaves were brought in America by the Dutch in 1619. The slaves worked in the hot south on cotton and tobacco plantations. In 1776 the colonies became independent and a lot of people believed that slavery would end but with the invention of the cotton gin which helped to separate the seeds from cotton increased the demand for cotton and demand for slaves. And that’s why the slavery was legal in 15 states in 1861. Slaves had to do whatever their master wanted. Some of the slaves worked as the domestic servants which means that they cooked, cleaned and took care of the master’s family. But the majority of the slaves worked on the fields. Slaves needed the permission to get married. They mustn’t learn to read. They couldn’t leave the plantation without special permission. And if they tried to escape, their toes were cut off. In spite of these facts, a lot of slaves tried to escape. Majority slaves escaped to Canada. The journey was very dangerous and difficult. They were led on their way by people known as conductors. The route was known as Underground Railroad. During the Civil War (1861-1865) a lot of black slaves entered into the Northern army and fought against the Southern soldiers. The war brought slavery to an end. But after the Civil War a lot of white people had the prejudices against the black people. „Jim Crow laws“ allow segregation in public areas. There were separate schools, eating places, park benches, drinking fountains and on train and buses had to sit in the back. In northern cities ghettos begin to develop. Eight of nine judges says that Constitution allows segregation. Only Judge Harlan says: „The Constitution is color-blind(1898).In1950s civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King boycott buses in Montgomery(Alabama).It canceled segregation in transport and later in restaurants. President J.F.Kennedy proposed to give black people right to vote. Dr. King organized a march on Washington and over 200 000 people took part in. He had a speech with slogan „I have a dream“ about ideals of the Declaration of Independence. In 1964 Civil Rights Act ended discrimination and in 1965 Voting Right Act gave them the right to vote. More militant leaders like Malcom X suggested violent change and riots. The Ku Klux Klan was founded in Tennessee (1866) to stop black people from voting. Klansmen in white cloaks and hoods burned houses and sometimes murdered black. Today this is illegal but still active. Today, black people make up 12% of the American population. One of the modern trends is so called reverse discrimination which means that companies should take affirmative action to find minorities to fill the jobs and many whites are angry because a lot of them don’t find the job in spite of being better than black.