Harriet Ross Tubman face will be on the $20 bill, replacing Andrew Jackson. Tubman is the best symbol of the untold story of America, where black and white men and women of God, and Churches dedicated to true Christian values helped the victims of injustice. Studying slavery, white and black, opens up the doors to America’s truths. It is the American Revolution, freeing the indentured servants of Europe, and the Civil War free oppressed peoples of color, which defines who we are as a country and a moral nation. Yes, a new nation came into existenance, with the Revolution, and the Union was secured through the Civil war, but it is the African American backstory that tells our glory.

Slavery in America: Historical Overview
By Ronald L. F. Davis, Ph. D.
California State University, Northridge

At the time of the American Revolution, slavery was a profitable but not all-pervasive institution in the British colonies of North America. Most prosperous in the low-country areas, it was beginning to reach a point of diminishing returns in the colonies of Virginia and Maryland. The 100 years of tobacco cultivation had exhausted much of the land in the Chesapeake area. Also, there seemed to be little likelihood that tobacco and rice could be as easily cultivated in the lands west of the coastal colonies.

During the great constitutional debates in the late 1780s over what the new nation would look like in the future, it was commonly assumed that slavery would gradually end soon in the next century. White southerners nevertheless managed to win from the North three significant concessions protecting the institution of slavery: (1) the federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which enabled slave catchers to cross state lines in the pursuit of runaway slaves; (2) the Three-Fifths Clause agreement to count every slave as three-fifths of a free person in determining a state’s representation in the House of Representatives and in the Electoral College; and (3) the continuation of the slave trade with Africa until 1808, which brought thousands of slaves to America in a rush of slave-trading activity.

Still, all the signs suggested that slavery was a terminal institution in the nation at the time of the ratification of the U. S. Constitution in 1789. A number of northern states, had abolished slavery by 1800, and the federal Congress banned slavery from the vast region of unorganized territory north of the Ohio River with the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Dozens of anti-slavery societies sprang up in the northern states and the upper South, and many enslaved African Americans openly challenged the system by suing for their freedom in state courts and by running away. Nevertheless, the ending of slavery did not happen for another 60 years-in fact, it took on new life in the new century, spreading rapidly from Georgia to Texas by 1830.

On the eve of the American Civil War approximately 4 million enslaved African Americans lived in the southern region of the United States of America. The vast majority worked as plantation slaves in the production of cotton, sugar, tobacco, and rice. Very few of these enslaved people were African born principally because the importation of enslaved Africans to the United States officially ended in 1808, although thousands were smuggled into the nation illegally in the 50 years following the ban on the international trade. These enslaved people were the descendants of 12 to 13 million African forbearers ripped from their homes and forcibly transported to the Americas in a massive slave trade dating from the 1400s. Most of these people, if they survived the brutal passages from Africa, ended up in the Caribbean (West Indies) or in South and Central America. Brazil alone imported around five million enslaved Africans. This forced migration is known today as the African Diaspora, and it is one of the greatest human tragedies in the history of the world

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