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The Slave Trade
From early 17th century ­ 19th century
Inequality for black people in America
dates from the earliest days of America's
The first black slaves were brought to
America in the early 17th Century where
most worked the cotton and tobacco
plantations in the southern states…read more

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The American Revolution
1775 ­ 1783
The American Revolution (when America fought for its
independence from the British Empire) created an independent
country in which all its citizens enjoyed legally protected rights
under the American constitution
However, these rights did not extend to slaves
Slaves had no rights whatsoever and could be treated as a piece
of property
By the 19th Century, slavery had been abolished across the
northern states
However, it continued across the south
America consists of a number of states, each of which has its own
In the 18th & 19th Centuries these states had considerable
independence and this meant that the laws in the south could be
very different to the laws in the north…read more

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The American Civil War
1861 ­ 1865
War broke out between the `slave states' of the
south and the `free states' of the north partly
over their conflicting attitudes towards slavery
President Abraham Lincoln, who led the
northern states, declared the freedom of all
American slaves in his 1862 Emancipation
Proclamation (`emancipation' means to `free'
The north won the civil war in 1865 and
abolished slavery across America
The Thirteenth Amendment to the American
Constitution then made slavery illegal across
America…read more

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1865 ­ 1877
During the years after the American Civil
War, there was an attempt to
`reconstruct' or rebuild the southern
states and make them a fairer place
The 14th and 15th Amendments were
passed which tried to guarantee the
citizenship and voting rights of black
Americans…read more

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1890 ­ 1910
However, despite the fact slavery had been abolished,
southern racists devised new ways of oppressing black
Between 1890 and 1910 southern states passed local `Jim
Crow' laws which denied black Americans access to
facilities used by white Americans
For example: schools, restaurants, toilets and cinemas
were segregated
Segregation was not only a legal matter
There were unspoken rules that meant whites spoke
down to blacks
For example: black adults were not addressed as `Mr' or
`Mrs' by whites…read more

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