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Drawing the Color Line

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    Intro: Drawing the Color Line shows the development of racism in our country and how our society has lowered people of a different race other than caucasian to be the “have-not’s” of society. Background Information: Sometimes it is noted that, even before 1600, when the slave trade had just begun, before Africans were stamped by it—literally and symbolically—the color black was distasteful. In England, before 1600, it meant, according to the Oxford English Dictionary: “Deeply stained with dirt; soiled, dirty, foul.

    Having dark or deadly purposes, malignant; pertaining to or involving death, deadly; baneful, disastrous, sinister. Foul, iniquitous, atrocious, horribly wicked. Indicating disgrace, censure, liability to punishment, etc. ” And Elizabethan poetry often used the color white in connection with beauty. Therefore, they did not differentiate this definition from people. Summary: Chapter 2 opens in 1619, with the arrival of a slave ship in North America.

    Zinn sketches the colonists’ need for labor, which was the immediate engine driving their willingness to hold slaves, and the larger European cultural attitudes that made slavery tenable. He compares slavery in Europe and Africa, and he touches on the nature of African civilization. Zinn moves back and forth through time by documenting the massive importation of slaves (“10 to 15 million” imported by 1800) and analyzing what this enslavement meant.

    Zinn addresses the marked racial bias in the seventeenth century (evidenced by laws against black/white fraternization) and comments on the many ways blacks resisted slavery: everything from dodging work to outright rebellion. Finally, Zinn documents how period power elites assembled “an intricate and powerful system of control” that kept resistant slaves in their place and prevented poor white laborers from rebelling with them. Evaluate the book: This chapter achieved its goal of A possibility suggested by this book is This chapter left out This book is more advanced It is not convincing Conclusion:

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