Essay Living in the Balance

Living in the Balance

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African-American Studies
A discussion of the African-American society after being freed from slavery.

An introduction and discussion of the thesis that African-Americans have lived “in the balance,” somewhere between white society and their own black culture, since they were first brought to the United States. Many African-Americans were free even before the Emancipation Proclamation became law in 1865. They had run away from their masters in the South, or had been granted their freedom by their owner, or had earned their freedom somehow and some were simply born into freedom. This paper also discusses the importance of religion to African-Americans during slavery as well as after the emancipation.
“Many African-Americans were free even before the Emancipation Proclamation became law in 1865. They had run away from their masters in the South, or been granted their freedom my their owner, of had earned their freedom somehow. Some were simply born into freedom, like the mulatto children of slave owners, who the white families accepted and raised. Phillis Wheatley, the great African-American poet, was granted her freedom in the late 1700s in Boston. In 1838, Frederick Douglass escaped his master by using someone else’s identification to travel by train to New York. Acquaintances nearly recognized him several times. Though I was not a murderer fleeing from justice I felt perhaps quite as miserable as such a criminal I reached New York Tuesday morning, having completed the journey in less than twenty-four hours. Such is briefly the manner of my escape from slavery and the end of my experience as a slave. Other chapters will tell the story of my life as a freeman.”

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