AMERICA DIVIDED Racism in america through the ages

America is known as 'The land of the free'. However despite this claim, throughout the country's long history racism has been heavily present. From the origins of slavery in the U.S.A. to the controversial election of business tycoon Donald Trump as President, America continues to suffer from a racial stigma which prolongs the division in modern day American citizens.

Confederate General Thomas F. Dayton & 54 of his slaves

Slavery during the 19th century was promient to the Southern States of America. Using slaves as a source of cheap manual labour, they would spent hours toiling away in the fields. This image above highlights the large collection of slaves that an individual could own at one specific time. Slaves were often treated as inferior beings and these slaves wear the face of misery.

Slaves working in the fields

Slaves were punished severely for any disobedience or defiance to their masters. The above image showcases an escaped slave, Gordon who bears the scars of his many years of slavery. The inhumane conditions endured by slaves was a sign that their masters saw them as nothing more than possessions which could be treated as such.


During the early 20th century the emergence of the infamous group known as the Ku Klax Klan or KKK in America would lead to many African American lives lost in their quest to see white supremacy become dominant in the U.S.A.

History of the Klan:

There have been three incarnations of the group in American history. The first group originated in the decades following the abolishment of Slavery in the Southern states. They seeked to halt the progression of African American sucess in political and social circles by impolying extreme methods of violence.

The second group rose to prominence during the 1920's and sought to return to their former glory. Unlike the former however this incarnation were structured into a legitimate organisation that spread their numbers into the thousands with members all over the country.

The third and current incarnation formed during the civil rights era of America. The klan members of this period utilised extreme terror methods to try and bring the Civil Rights Movement to an abrupt end but failed. The klan during this time also had close ties to Southern Law Enforcement and thas was allowed certain immunity to engage in questionable activities.

This image showcases a father alongside his wife and children at a KKK gathering. This image is powerful because not only does it highlight the overwhelming numbers of the Ku Klax Klan, but also the fact that young children were being influenced by the racial prejudices and behaviors of the klan.

This image displays a public demonstration of the Ku Klax Klan during the 1920's. At this period of time there was national admiration towards the KKK as it was believed they were upholding both American values and Christian moralities.

The image below highlights the brutality that was present in the deep South of America during the early 20th century. This woman was accused of larceny for aiding her son in murdering a corrupt sheriff who accused the son of this woman of stealing a horse. As such she was subsequently beaten, raped and forced to watch her son lynched before she suffered a similar fate.

Laura Nelson lynched along with her son after being accused on aiding and abetting a fugitive.
African American Civil rights Movement(1954-1968)

The Civil Rights Movement was a vital part of American History. Lasting for two decades, thousands of African Americans came together to protest for their right to be treated equally. Prominent figures such as Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X became vital to the overall success of the movement. There was severe opposition to this movement with the Ku Klax Klan, the government and even ordinary citizens standing in the way of progression.

Emmet Till, aged 14 was beaten and subsequently murdered by two white men living in the Southern States of America (1955). Due to the Jim Crow Laws present in the South at the time restricting African American's ability to live, this young boy made the mistake of fliriting with a young white girl. This mistake would ultimately cost his life and allow his murderers to escape punishment due to the Jim Crow Laws.

During the late 1980's and early 1990's police brutality was a recurring problem and this video highlights one such incident. A young man, Rodney King was pulled over by police after being caught speeding and suffers a horrific beating at the hands of Los Angeles Police Officers. A witness filmed the incident and after the media showcased it to the public there was a massive outcry for justice to be sought. Following this a city wide riot took place in L.A. during the summer of 1992. This was the first time that such an incident had been shown and it would impact how police handled racial relations in the years to come.


In 2008 history was made when America elected the first African American President Barack Obama. However despite his election being a overwhelming success there were many American citizens who felt that his position as president would upset the "status quo".

Following Obama's successful two terms as President and progressing the racial rights of both African Americans and American citizens, America is threatened to return to former days of racial injustice with the election of Business Tycoon Donald Trump as president. Trump's policies has sparked controversy for specifically targeting minorities (e.g. Muslims, Latinos/Hispanics and African Americans) and it has lead to America being severely divided on how America should be run.

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