This essay is an excerpt from the book written in 1899. According to the book, it was hard for black families to develop the strong basis for morality during slavery as they had little time, only about thirty years, of training in family life. On the other hand, the Anglo-Saxon race had thousands of years in which to advance family life. Because family is the very foundation of a society, this fact placed black families at a disadvantaged position with regards to developing moral ideals and value system, the fabric on which the race was based.
One specific example of a practice that weakened family ties prior to 1865 is the violation of health laws and the savage treatment the black people would receive from their masters. Coupled with the fact that they would not be able to receive first-class insurance cover, the death rate was quite high. As such, families would have to deal with much death related trauma than they had to deal with family issues. Another unjust action of the Anglo-Saxon race taking law into their own hand and not allowing the law to take its course through proper court action. As such, they exercised undue power over their subject, often with more black people being lynched in the South than any other race. This came despite the fact that “Lynching was instituted some years ago with the idea of punishing and checking criminal assaults upon women” (Washington 1889). This evil would permeate the families of black people, bringing in unnecessary psychological and emotional pain over the injustice practices.
Other factors that made it harder for black families to remain intact was the fact that they were economically marginalized, often working more hours to eke out a small income, compared to the Anglo-Saxon race which controlled much of the economy of the South and would therefore maximize on the business opportunities available. They also lacked identity and human dignity from being mistreated and treated inhumanely, and this reflected also in their families. Furthermore, they lacked access to education, which kind of incapacitated their exercise of intelligence and morality, key elements of a civilized society. The much education young people could get was in dark, secluded corners of log school houses. The jobs available included industrial though they were rarely given the chance to lift themselves up economically through education.
Washington, Booker T. “The future of the American negro”. American Anthropologist, vol 5, no. 4, 1899, pp. 410-420. Wiley, doi:10.1525/aa.1919.21.4.02a00070.
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