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Adrienne Toney

Mrs. O’Keefe
AP Literature
31 March 2019

Slaves were introduced as a topic in 1619. At this time America had just recently been formed
into colonies. These people are immigrants at the moment if you think about it. They came to live in
Northern America permanently. So it seems very unethical for them to have gone off to Africa to abduct
and tear families apart just so that they could have someone else tend to their crops. Not only was this
abducted race forced to do harsh labor but they had to endure countless other cruel lifestyles. Female
slaves were raped and forced to bear children that didn’t belong to their husband if they had one. Families
were torn apart and sold to other places. Mostly field slaves were whipped for the craziest reasons. It’s
just horrible to think about all of the cruel things that my ancestors were subject to.
Slavery was abolished in 1835 due to the passing of the 13th Amendment. The Amendment states
that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall
have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”.
What people fail to realize is that although the 13 Amendment got rid of slavery there’s still a loophole.
“Except as punishment for crime,” so basically if you commit a crime or break the law you could be taken
to jail and while you’re there you’re basically a slave. Prisoners are forced to do hard labor and of course
they aren’t paid. There’s also been a pattern going on. Black citizens are being taken to jail over petty
crimes that any lighter-skinned person would get a slap on the wrist for. Often times young Black men are
shot and killed by police officers because they “thought that they would die”. For example, the Trayvon
Martin case, Martin was shot for being Black. He was shot because people have begun to associate
blackness with badness.
My ancestors have fought so hard to overcome slavery, segregation, and racism but all three of
these things are still going on. People have just chosen to become blind to it. What can the American
society do to fix this? What can we do to open our eyes because it seems like we like to walk around as if
we don’t have the ability to see what’s right in front of us. We should be able to protest and project our
voices without having tear gas sprayed at us. The American society needs to do better.