Essay by DCieVingLksHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 2003

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Thematic Essay: Equality

Throughout American history, people of all races, cultures, and religion etc, have been discriminated against, and denied the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The African Americans are one group that has been denied those rights for ages.

The African Americans have been enslaved for years and years. They were dragged in the slave trade, beaten, sold as property, separated from family, culture, and relocated to different places where they would serve their master as long as they were needed. As slaves they lived according to slave codes that forbade them to meet together, learn to read and write, own weapons, and could be killed for behavior that was thought to be improper. During the 1780's the new government formed, had a few conflicting ideas as to how the government would be divided, and represented. One compromise that affected the African Americans was 'The Three Fifths Compromise' which said that every slave was considered three-fifths of a white person, for representation and taxation purposes.

Not only have they been denied to live their life freely, be paid for their labor, allowed the same rights as the white, but also they were not even viewed as people in society and government. After the slaves were freed, they faced laws against them being twisted and turned (Jim Crow Laws) in ways to prevent them having any right to pursue any happiness. As if segregation was not enough, they were continuously tortured by the Ku Klux Klan, facing brutality and abuse, and had to fight for equality.

Many efforts that have been made to help the African Americans attain equality was during the anti-slavery movement by inspirational leaders such as Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. Harriet Tubman led the 'Underground Railroad', helping over...