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History of African Americans began when "twenty and odd" Africans were landed in the English colony of Virginia in 1619. The majority of African Americans are the descendants of Africans who were forced into slavery. In 1790 Black people numbered almost 760,000. During that time, they were considered an inferior race with heathen culture.
The blacks were documented into slavery in Virginia in 1661 and in all the English colonies by 1750. They were forced to work in the farmlands of the New World. They were sold as merchandise by European traders on slave ships. During the period of the 17th and 18th centuries, they were forced to work as slaves on tobacco, rice, and indigo plantations. In 1807 Thomas Jefferson signed legislation that officially ended the African trade of enslaved peoples. However, this act did not presage the end of slavery.
Abolitionists in the United States in the 1840-1860 period developed large propaganda campaigns against slavery. At the beginning of 1861, a movement, known as the Civil War, was launched in an attempt to liberate all the country's slaves. In September 1862 Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, stating that all slaves were to be free. After the Civil War, nearly four million slaves were freed.
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 made Black people full U.S. citizens. Ratification of the 15th amendment in 1870 extended the right to vote to Black males. However, in the post-Reconstruction years, African Americans struggled to find a job, so many of them decided to migrate westward.
In 1900, nearly 8 million African Americans still lived in the South, however, due to economic depression, more African Americans moved Northwards and were then embroiled in WWI. Between 1910 and 1920 an estimated 500,000 African Americans left the South. During the war thousands of black officers were commissioned and many served abroad in labour battalions and service regiments.
The Great Depression of the 1930s worsened the already bleak economic situation of African Americans. During that period, a large number of African Americans lost their jobs amidst inherent discrimination. African Americans were aided with low cost public housing, education and more jobs.
In World War II as in World War I, there was a mass migration of Blacks from the South. Abbout 1.5 million African Americans left the South during the 1940s. During the war, an African American soldiers were in service units, and combat troops remained segregated.
The Civil Rights Movement was the persistent and deliberate step of African Americans in the 1940s and 1950s. The culmination of the Civil Rights Movement was in 1963, which aided in securing the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination in voting, public accommodations, and employment.
The post-civil rights era is notable for the New Great Migration, in which millions of African Americans have returned to the South, often to pursue increased economic opportunities in now-desegregated southern cities. Politically and economically, Black people have made substantial strides in the post-civil rights era. The dramatic political breakthrough came in the 2008 election, with the election of Barack Obama.
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