The African Americans

Search for Truth and Knowledge

By Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Jr.

Part Twenty-Four: African American Resistance

Civil War and Reconstruction

Not long after the birth of the nation it became clear that the United States government's support of slavery had become more and more an economic necessity. Cotton became "King" and one of the most important economic pillars of the North and South. It grew in importance from a million tons produced in the South in 1800 to millions of tons by 1860. In the same period, the slave population grew from 500,000 to 4,000,000. In order to control this growing slave population, an enormous system of laws, restrictions, customs, police and military forces was employed.

It was clear that it would take either a full-scale slave rebellion or a full-scale war to end such a deeply entrenched system. Several slave rebellions occurred but failed. As the sectional differences between the North and the South grew, war became inevitable.

Before the Civil War began in 1861, African Americans responded to the struggle against slavery in various ways—some violent, some non-violent. All of these efforts were part of the heroic struggle for freedom.

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