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6 September, 15:18

How did free African American communities shape American life and culture, and how did black civic leadership transform debates over slavery and race?

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  1. 6 September, 16:22
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    Free African American communities during the antebellum period showed the rest of Americans that African Americans could perfectly be as prosperous, self-reliant and educated as white Americans. They provided a showcase of what educated African Americans could accomplish and demonstrated that if they were given the same means and opportunities that white Americans enjoyed, they could perfectly enjoy the same level of prosperity of educated white Americans. The emergence of an active and extremely articulate black leadership showed the rest of Americans that the only thing that separated free, educated African Americans in the 19th from their white counterparts was the color of skin. Furthermore, not only intelligent African American leaders who were born free achieved a great level of education and influence, some of the leaders of the black community had been born into slavery and after escaping had managed to educate themselves and even surpass several white Americans in terms of intellectual accomplishments. Frederick Douglass is an excellent example of this. Despite being born into slavery and remaining in this condition until the age of 16, he secretly educated himself and escaped to become one of the most powerful and eloquent orator of the abolitionist movement.
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