The History of Slavery

Slavery in America started in 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 African slaves ashore in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia. Though exact totals will never be known, the transatlantic slave trade is believed to have forcibly displaced some 12.5 million Africans between the 17th and 19th centuries; some 10.6 million survived the infamous Middle Passage across the Atlantic. Though descendants of these enslaved Africans now make up considerable segments of the population in the United States, Brazil and many Caribbean islands, written records of their ancestors’ origins are difficult—if not impossible—to find. Slavery was practiced throughout the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, and African slaves helped build the new nation into an economic powerhouse through the production of lucrative crops such as tobacco and cotton.

At least 150 words per question: UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED


Racial and Ethnic Diveristy in the USA Schaefer



  • Outline the history of slavery and freemen throughout the Americas, including the U.S. 500wrds
  • Why were slaves brought to the Americas in the first place? How did Black freemen come to the U.S. and to territories that became part of America?
  • Describe the development of colorism in minority communities in the U.S. How is colorism manifest today within underserved communities in the U.S.?
  • How was the Hispanic category created? Who does it now include? Where do people from the Americas who are not Spanish speaking fit, such as Mayas from Guatemala, people from Belize, and Brazilians?
  • Why does the U.S. census claim that Hispanics can be of any race, including two or more races?
  • Analyze the effect of colorism within African American and Latino communities.
  • Identify the social and political realities that place very diverse Latin American groups within this specific large ethnic group, the only one recognized by the United States’ census.
  • What was the mindset of slave holders?
  • What caused this mindset?
  • How could we avoid this mindset in the future?
  • How has racism influenced the United States?
  • How has racism influenced minority groups?
  • Identify the factors that contribute to and limit the political power of Latinos as a group in the United States.


  • Slavery. (2011). Encyclopedia of Human Rights in the United States, n/a.
  • Allain, J., & Bales, K. (2012). Slavery and its definition. Global Dialogue (Online), 14(2), 6-14.
  • Blackmon, D. A. (2013). America’s twentieth-century slavery. The Washington Monthly, 45(1/2), 22-26.
  • Cochran, E., Dhillon, M., Rabow, J., Vega, Y. M., & Yeghnazar, P. (2012). Blind side: Colorism continues.Humanity & Society, 36(4), 380-385.
  • Gracia, J. J. E. (2011). Hispanic/Latino identity: A response to Tammelleo. Ethnicities, 11(4), 563-569.
  • Howell, L. D. (2014). Slavery by the numbers. USA Today, 142(2826), 49.
  • Shay, S. (2003). Freemen. Conspiracy Theories in American History, n/a.


  • Minority Report : Evaluating Political Equality in America


  • Bill Moyers, (2007). Racism in America (04:09) [Video file]. Films on Demand.
  • PBS, (2005). Understanding Slavery from a Historical Perspective (01:15) [Video file]. Films on Demand.
  • Strombili Productions, (2000). Latino Influence on Politics (05:25) [Video file]. Films on Demand.

Watch “Understanding Slavery from a Historical Perspective,” located on this week’s Electronic Reserve Readings page.

Consider the following questions:








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