Nov 16, 2020 in Politics


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Slavery of the Blacks

The origin of the Blacks in the United States traces back to 1620, when the colonial masters imported the first group of slaves. Initially, slavery was a domestic issue, but it worsened after the revolution and then lasted for almost a century (Political Science 180A 8). The impact on the economy was great as the most valuable possessions at the time were slaves and housing estates (Political Science 180A 9). By 1860, there were about 4 million slaves in the U.S. and their worth was 3.2-4.8 billion (Political Science 180A 9). The treatment of the Blacks as assets was so dehumanizing that some prominent people at that time had to react in order to stop the vice. This essay describes how different personalities perceived slavery as well as their reaction to it.

Question 1

Both Douglas and Washington were born as slaves in the United States of America and like the rest of the slaves they suffered a lot due to oppression and the lack of privileges. The Whites considered themselves as supreme and as the owners of the American land. Douglas could not fathom this, and thus, he mocked them for preaching equality and liberty that they did not protect, and the worst of all calling themselves Christians (Douglas 2). Washington also jeered at the Whites and proclaimed that no race can succeed if it does not respect the farm workers (Washington 2). Below is a comparison of how the two borrowed the principles of liberalism to confront the issue of white supremacy.

Driven by egoism, Douglas detests the fact that he and the fellow slaves know nothing about their birth dates, and he terms this as dehumanizing (Douglas 4). Washington, under the inspiration of the same principle, felt that the Whites should treat the Blacks as a resource but not a liability (Washington 14). The principle of individual rights inspired Douglas to resist whipping and he chose to square it out with the master to bring to an end the abuse (Douglas 5). The same principle inspired Washington in his perception that freedom must come from persistent struggle (Washington 15). The goal of liberty made Douglas detest the act of depriving Black children parental care by separating them from their mothers (Douglas 4) while the same tenet inspired Washington to pursue education and teach his fellow Blacks (Washington 7).

Douglas believed that the Blacks have a role in shaping the Republic and similarly, Washington believed that Blacks should seek to improve themselves to show their worth (Washington 13). Douglas perceived politics as the unity of thought and practice (Douglas 28) and likewise, Washington believed that there should be intelligence and development for all people (Washington 13). Douglas further believes that the political principles of the United States are anti-slavery (Douglas 30) and disagrees with the notion that citizenship lies in the habits and practices of the legitimate Americans (Douglas 31). These beliefs are in tandem with the Washingtons ideas for intellectual development for all (Washington 13).

Question 2

Garvey was born in the former British colony Jamaica at the time when the colonial rulers were in power (Garvey 3). He grew to a well-known figure, and he advocated for Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism (Garvey 2). At the time, the United States-based companies expanded to the Latin America and laws were prohibiting interracial marriages (Garvey 4). In the Illinois State, white workers massacred the Blacks upon their employment in companies (Garvey 5). Garvey and Washington shared some ideas while they differed in others. This essay examines the similarities and differences of their ideologies and the way they reacted to white supremacy.

Garvey, inspired by Black Nationalism, detested the way the whites tried to rob the Blacks of their glory by attempting to argue that the Black heroes did not belong to the race (Garvey 14). This depicts the Blacks as inferiors (Campos 13). The hatred for the whites inspired him to argue that the Blacks must fight the whites to reclaim their respect, and this is what drove him to initiate the Universal Negro Improvement Association to free Africa from slavery (Garvey 18). He opposed the idea of social equality, the intermarriage issue and the political empowerment of Africans but instead he adopted radicalism, arguing that he can die for Negroes (Garvey 19). He called for African awareness and the need for the "great Africa" and the Negros in the diaspora to cooperate (Garvey 21) under the beliefs of same roots and destiny (Garvey 22). Washington, on the other hand, never believed in radicalization but he believed in assimilation and empowerment of Africa. This drove him to pursue education and afterward tried to empower the Blacks through education until his death (Washington 7). He also desired to see the Whites treating the Blacks as brothers and to view them as a resource as opposed to liability (Washington 14).

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Despite the difference between Garvey's radicalization and Washington's moderate call for the Blacks' empowerment and assimilation, there were some similarities in beliefs and goals. Some of the cases are the shared thoughts such as industriousness, racial solidarity, independence for the Blacks and self-reliance. Washington had these objectives in his mind (Washington 13), and the same case was with Garvey (Garvey 21).

Question 3

Douglas and Washington called for the Blacks to struggle towards their independence and improving their status in a respectable position. Delany and Garvey, on the other hand, were radicalized, and they could not stand the idea of unity and equality between the Blacks and the Whites. Their thought was rational, but it also had some limitations. This essay seeks to elaborate the rationality and the limitations of the idea of migration.

Delany and Garvey were sensible by thinking of the notion of migration because the Blacks were an unwanted race in the United States and the expulsion of Garvey and other Blacks from the Harvard Medical School (Delany 13). Additionally, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 deliberately targeted the Blacks (Delany 13) and thus the decision to migrate was rational. The enslavement and despise of the Blacks meant that the race was an underclass intended to serve the Whites, and the disenfranchisement (Delany 19) meant that the Blacks were not Americans. The U.S. political community, therefore, lacked reasonable criteria for inclusion or exclusion of the Blacks and thus the migration idea was justified because Delany and Garvey had no hopes of seeing the Blacks free (Delany 20). However, the idea of migration had limitations because the proponent had no mutually agreed destination (Delany 20), and in Africa that the Black Nationalists praise, some areas such as Liberia entertained slavery and depended on the U.S. (Delany 20). Lastly, the Blacks were poor people (Delany 24).

Through the idea of migration, Delany and Garvey challenge the colonization by the Whites by showing them that Blacks can live on their own and rely on themselves, and this is a way of breaking the dominance of the White. However, the move, on the other hand, gratifies White colonialism because if Blacks migrated to Africa, it would imply cowardice as well as pleasing the Whites who considered them unwanted. Therefore, migration would assist the Whites to realize their dream of getting rid of the Blacks.

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Different scholars approached the issue of Black slavery in various ways but they all had an intention of freeing the Black race from oppression. Douglas and Washington embraced the tenets of liberalism, and they advocated for the arising of Africans to struggle for their rights. Garvey, on the other hand, was a Black Nationalist, who was so radical that he had no hopes of seeing the Whites and Blacks embracing each other. He believed that fighting is the only solution, and he claimed that he was ready to die for his fellow Blacks. Delany never thought that the Whites would grant the Blacks freedom and thus together with Garvey, they shared a common idea of the migration of the Blacks out of the United States to unite with their fellow Blacks in the "great Africa." However, despite the differing opinions, the personalities had a common goal of the autonomy and freedom of the Blacks.


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