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19th Century African And Native Americans

1497 words - 6 pages

The 19th century was a hard time for the African-Americans and Native Americans of the U.S. Treatment of these people by the White society brought about much pain and suffering for their races. This is because race played a large role in society during the 19th century, because of this, African-Americans and Native Americans were treated poorly in their relationship with the White Society.
It was largely believed that the African-Americans role in society was one of inferiority to the White race. Evidence of this can be seen in the “Initiation Oath of the Knights of the White Camelia.” The Knights of the White Camelia, more commonly known as the Ku Klux Klan (or KKK for short), believe that it was their duty to maintain the division between the African-American and the White society by any means necessary. The KKK members wanted keep the Caucasian race the superior race through suppressing the African-Americans by intimidating them to stay away from the political sphere and preventing interracial marriages. In the oath they vow to obtain these measures only through lawfully means (Gorn 4-5). Thomas W. Wilson felt that African-Americans were inferior to Whites, maybe not to the extent that the KKK felt, in his article “Reconstruction (1906)” he briefly speaks of the African-Americans as being ignorant, crude, and as “easy dupes” (Hollitz 10). Both of these sources show the Whites need for supremacy over the African-Americans and, as the initiation speech of the KKK states, their willingness to exert their supremacy.
Do to the Whites belief that they were superior to the African-American it is only natural that their treatment of the African-Americans matched their distaste of them. Even though the KKK’s oath states that they are to stay within the law when trying to obtain their goal, many of its members tormented and even killed to get their point across. The “Testimony of Victims of the Ku Klux Klan” tells the story of what many of the members of the KKK actually did to their victims. A former slave by the name of Pierce Harper spoke of some African-American “young fellers,” who a white woman accused of stealing, were place in jail but that did not save them from the KKK because its member broke the “young fellers” out of jail and killed them. On another account, a former slave by the name of Sue Craft who stated that a white teacher by the name of Dunlap was whipped by the KKK for teaching colored children. This goes to show that no one was safe from the tyranny of the KKK. This was not the only form of harsh treatment that the African-Americans received.
After the war when the African-Americans were declared freemen, many of the plantation owners were reluctant to give up their slaves. This led to the creation of many laws that restricted the newly freed slaves. These laws were known as Black Codes, which were state and local laws designed to restrict the freedom of African-Americans and get them to return to the...

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