Effects of Slavery 40 Years After Abolition - Free Essay Example

Published: 2023-11-10
Effects of Slavery 40 Years After Abolition - Free Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Racism Slavery American literature Social issue
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1669 words
14 min read


The Gem of the ocean is a play by August Wilson, the American playwright. This is the first installment of his ten-play chronicle, the Pittsburgh cycle, which dramatized the twentieth-century African American experience, decade by decade. Like other individuals whose lives are still exaggerated by big financial or communal problems, world disasters like the holocaust or the Great Depression, August's characters Wilson play Gem of the ocean wrestles with the consequence of some forty years of slavery after eradication.

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Through trying to capture the internalized results, the oppression, constant alertness, panic, terror, low self-confidence, embarrassment, and anger, the play's key characters resound with their present war as if they were all in chains. To recognize the properties of oppression on the characters in Gem of the ocean even after their liberation helps us know the means in which slavery continues to distress the Black Americans in the present times. Therefore, this paper will discuss the effects of slavery on the characters in the Gem of the ocean, even after some forty years of being freed (Acharya 2014). The paper will also explore why this is important.

The main characters of the play continue to battle on the massive economic and social situation barriers against newly freed slaves from the south to the north. The domination is more intricated by the dark gentleman Caesar, who the ex-slaves understand as a white autocrat as white as the proprietors of slaves who enslaved them for about four eras. This theme is significant since slavery caused injuries that are not easy if still cured (Acharya 2014). In the present days, most black Americans always try to find ways of dealing with anger legacy over slavery and the racial animosity that they still have been smoothed at them by the nation they had never desired to occupy.

Caste System

Wilson takes advantage of a single of his key characters, Citizen Barlow, to illustrate the manner in which the caste system remained thriving in the north even after the hard workers were liberated. In their book, Resistance, slavery, freedom, Scot Hancock, and Gabor Borit, the dream of freedom in the north or Canada, the so-referred as the assured land-dwelling, was unsatisfied for the immense majority of fugitives. Their equals in the higher states faced frequent problems in making it into unrestricted land.

However, Borit and Hancock address runaways specifically throughout the period of lively imprisonment, their explanations apply to the lives of the characters of Wilson play. In a few exceptions, the slaves view the north as the land of honey and milk, much like Moses's men, as they spent forty years in the desert. The free movement of slaves from the south to the north was not virtually liberty (Acharya 2014). In the most literal sense, it was merely a re-establishment of slavery. Several people, as well as Citizen Barlow, were shocked in finding that the north was not the heaven they wished for and that their predicament to the attention of lasers.

Each cohort of downgraded people needs its savior. The people who have existed find theirs in Aunt Ester, regardless of slavery. She is not only crucial to the plot but also signifies something significant about the entire African – American community. Johnson's thesis article on Discovering Aunt Ester by August Wilson in Gem of the ocean. This is dependent on the path that Aunt Ester takes Citizen on its redeeming journey.

Original Roles

Though they essentially mourn the demise of their mate, Solly, Citizen, and Black Mary embrace their original roles of the society although they recognize that they will proceed to contest for their liberty (Acharya 2014). Liberation is challenging to get through because the play's notable characters interact with their existing challenges because if they were already in handcuffs.

Besides, to understand the effects of slavery experienced by the characters in the play and their importance, we should analyze some of the theories as illustrated below. Some of the theories of importance to be discussed include racial threat, civil war destruction, geographical sorting, Antebellum Social and Political Attitudes, contemporary income inequality between whites and the blacks, and the urban, rural differences.

To start with, the racial threat plausible discussions is that slave occurrence affects modern political attitudes through its effect on the contemporary black attentions. The unknown prevalence of slavery has formed excess concentrations of blacks in the current- day. According to the theory of racial threat, the black belt causes the opinions of the whites to become more racially antagonistic (Johnson 2011). For proper analysis of the racial threat, the baseline results can be explained by contemporary black concentrations, which are done through the inclusion of an intermediary as a covariate in the baseline and the treatment, which is highly considered. The addition of a mediator in the model prejudices the approximations unless the cofounders are not measured. This theory is essential in calculating the measured straight effects of slavery, which comprises the outcomes if the current concentrations of African Americans were to be fixed.


The other way is through civil war destruction. The slaveholding regions were more unfavorably affected by the civil war. The effects of the damage in the infrastructure and the loss of life from the war were far-reaching, affecting agriculture areas disproportionally—this changes the analysis, for instance, in the light of the centralized government functions in the war. The whites in the war-torn slave areas result in more aggrieved of the federal government, which in turn expresses through anger towards blacks (Johnson 2011). The expectations are that the effects of slavery should decrease once the civil war is controlled. Furthermore, the results not discussed above is that the inclusion in the interaction between civil war destruction and the percentage of a slave is not essential.

Besides, the rural versus urban counties act as a reasonable explanation. The large counties with slaves tend to be more rural today than the counties possessing fewer slaves. It is, therefore, clear that the rural counties are more conventional than urban counties. The magnitudes of the effects of slavery on each county mostly increase, and the outcome remains essential. The results are therefore doubtful attributable to the scarce population of previous slaveholding areas.

The antebellum political and social attitudes intensify the political differences between previous non-slaveholding counties and the slaveholding counties. The whites started being affected by slavery beginning in the historical period. In this theory, two possibilities are considered. The first possibility is the racist attitudes motivated some Europeans to look for the African to carry out the slave duties hence becoming the slave proprietors. Racism developed in joint with the origins of the race-based slavery in the areas of the American south that would be symptomatic for the pre-existing ethnically hostile attitudes (Johnson 2011). The second possibility is that having the slaves causes the white to be more racists. This is due to the set harmonizing social practices and social standards essential to validate slavery as an institution. Based on the two possibilities, the antebellum attitudes passed down through progressive groups. In the results that are not discussed, the effects are robust enough to control the impacts of blacks freed in the country, which is considered a significant indicator of historical racial arrogances.

Negative Racial Attitude

If a negative racial attitude made the whites search for slaves, it is evident that the proportion of the slaves served a good proxy for the regions where the negative racial attitudes were more intense. Basing on the assumption that ethnic beliefs affect slavery via their other slavery levels, the analysis effectively controls the differences in the antebellum racism (Johnson 2011).

The last theory of discussion is geographic sorting. This generally involves the population sorting of people in a particular area. For example, the whites located in the south may have come from their previous regions during their last years. The whites who have more racially easy-going opinions may have repeatedly left their former areas of slavery. The sorting of places is addressed in different ways, including the historical migration analysis, contemporary migration analysis, and the black migrations and the children of immigrants.

To start with the historical migration analysis, the essential factor in determining where and why people move. This investigation is carried out by identifying the patterns of migration between people (Johnson 2011). If perpetual sorting is carried out, there are some expectations between the migrants from other regions and those from the high slave migrants when carrying out the analysis for example on age; it is essential to know that the immigrants and migrants are significantly younger in comparison to those who remain in their areas.


The other way of sorting the population is though an analysis of contemporary migration. This is possible by the presentation of suggestive evidence through the use of data among regions' movements. This data is vital in the investigation of the degree in which contemporary as opposed to migration history (Johnson 2011). For proper sorting of the population, there should be migration between the low slave areas to the areas of high slaves. For enhancement of these data, there should county to county migration to calculate dyads of where people move to and from. The whites who are racially conservative move into high slave areas.

The last way of sorting is the black migration and the children of immigrants. Further examination on the consequence of slavery on the present-day attitudes of groups that experienced mass migration. Therefore, it is evident that there are no differences between the black residents of former slave counties and old non-slave counties in terms of identification of racial issues. It can, therefore, be concluded that geographic sorting is exclusive behind the results. The program of Americans has been typically orthogonal for reasons that estimate the effects of slavery on contemporary attitudes conservative.


Acharya, A., Blackwell, M., & Sen, M. (2014). The Political Legacy of American Slavery. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2538616

Johnson, A. (2011). DISCOVERING AUNT ESTER IN GEM OF THE OCEAN BY AUGUST WILSON. https://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/AA/00/00/15/93/00001/Anedra%20JohnsonThesis%20Paper.pdf.

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