To What Extent Were African-American Slaves “Free” After the Abolition of Slavery by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863? What Challenges Did They Face After Their Emancipation?

2378 Words Mar 13th, 2011 10 Pages
Abstract:

To what extent were African-American slaves “free” after the abolition of slavery by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863? What challenges did they face after their emancipation? This is a subject of continued interest. History is rife with records of decades of untold torture and harrowing experiences. African-American slaves suffered at the hands of their captors and masters. They were denied all natural rights as human beings and forced to live like animals. A slave was viewed as one-third of a person and the property of their owner(s) and treated as objects, mere things. One would therefore assume that after their emancipation, life would become significantly better because the slaves were free to move away from
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Being pregnant did not spare a slave woman the whip or rod. A hole was dug for her to rest her belly while being whipped. They were also at constant risk of losing members of their families if their owners decided to sell them for profit, punishment, or to pay debts. Slavery indeed was dehumanizing in every sense of the word.

The Declaration of Emancipation was monumental, and came with the renewed sense of hope that life after their emancipation would become significantly better. Being free, the former slaves envisaged being able to live with a sense of purpose and pride in a land ripe with a cornucopia of opportunities waiting to be capitalized on. Spirits were high and celebration took place as ideas and fantasies of a rich lifestyle with a good standard of living were being formulated.[1] For some ex slaves, their dreams became somewhat of a reality as their fight for survival during slavery helped them develop the wits needed to succeed in their new found world. Unfortunately, there were many tragic disappointments, as nearly all the slaves that were emancipated were forced to return back to their old masters after leaving the plantations, starving and diseased.[2] Many were not able to survive on their own. This came as a result of both internal and external forces - being somewhat trapped by their own helplessness, insecurities, lack of knowledge[3] and still viewed as

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