Student’s NameInstructor’s NameCourseDate Exchanging our Country MarksIntroductionIn 1822, Denmark Vesey’s did a remarkable experiment in Charleston, South Carolina (Spady, p. 291). He attempted to examine the slavery foundation in America.
He argued that slavery in America can only be stopped by either speaking about the capacity of slaves in antislavery resistance or demonstrating the relations in the social nature among the slave community at the beginning of 19th century. He emphasized the need for people from Africa descent, whether born in Africa or in America to coalesce for the purpose to realize a common goal. It is after a sober assessment that the free black people choose to join those who oppressed them in order to reveal their own status was precarious. The revolt by class leaders and the African Churches in Charleston played a crucial role in bringing the evolution of African Churches which were the center of affirmation and resistance. Religion could have been used as an attempt to bridge the difference in terms of status, origin, and culture.
Vesey movement became a model for another subsequent effort. The nature of segmentation of Vesey’ s organization is significant even though there is no singular evidence to show that African American community was badly affected by the 18th century in the continuum of identity at a various station between the race and ethnicity. The discussion below illustrates the effort made by African Americans to shift from ethnicity to race base on African identity which was critical to the process of response and regeneration. African IdentityMichael Gomez examines how Africans and their descendants fashioned an attempt in colonial and antebellum American South to show their identity (Gomez, p. 203). He established the efforts made to shift from ethnicity to race based on identity. The movement can be examined and understood by what impact it had on both internal and external forces in the social relations.
The results indicate that the movement was successful in moving toward race and away ethnicity during different place and time, which was influenced significantly by the ethnic antecedents. Ethnic difference within African American community in some cases preceded social stratification. Whether ethnicity is related to classism, it emerged as the main obstacle to a race-based collective concept. In order to understand how the identity of African American was formed, and the means by which African American community developed, it is essential to understand the African culture, social and political background which recognizes how Africa came into existence with certain coherent beliefs and perspectives about the universe and their place in it. Some of the questions that emerged were: What were worldviews by Africans? What were their values, ethics, and beliefs? What really matters to them? To address some of these questions, one need to investigate the interpretation of African view reality change leads to the process of enslavement and how reorientation communicated to descendants.
More advanced study about Africa can go beyond perfunctory discussion of Sudan empires to something else like African past. Discussion can solemnly be based specifically on the African population, culture and political accouterments. Different African region has striking similarities and significant differences in their culture, social and political organization. The diversity of immigrant group can be understood by appreciating the nature of their unique difference.
By 1830, there was an increase with the numbers of American-born slaves who outnumbered the African native and more so African America identity was discernible. During that time, there was a significant diminution of explicit references of African-born individuals as the primary source of activities, which made the whole process difficult to continue with a line of inquiry that is specifically concerned with their role and position. Consistent translation in demographic evidence took place by 1830 with a lot of impact on the matrix of African social cultural and the rise of African America to its place. EthnicityEthnicity refers to the social-cultural communications network which is bounded by language, culture, historical derivation, and territorial association. Ethnicity usually brings division among the people rather than unity, it causes poor performance in the enterprise rather than increasing production. Implicit determines the uniqueness of a group of people and distinguish various collections of individuals. Even before exportation of slaves via the transatlantic slave trade, ethnic identities had emerged to several factors like language, religion, centralized states, and the extensive commercial network (Gomez, p.
190). Ethnicity developed during the slave trade from barracoon to the fields which created conditions among slaves who were not consciously disposed before being captured. Even though it is not clear where ethnicity was formed, either in Africa or in America, it is significant to understand African American ethnogenesis. African American identity can be related with the question of acculturation where unique and dissociate cultures start to interact and exchange content in a given region, that might result to some sort of cultural hybrid, which might be important to examine its economic and political context of the exchange to accurately appreciate and understand them. However, In the colonial and antebellum south, such an incident did not occur. Acculturation in America SouthAcculturation had two realms in America South.
Slaves lived in their own world where intra-Africa and Africa-Africa America cultural factors play a key role. This is the most complicated realm among the two since their unique affinities and differences among those in Africa and those of Africa descent born in America were negotiated synchronously. This is the most complicated realm among the two since affinities and differences among those in Africa and those of African descent born in America were synchronously negotiated.
However, there existed the obvious interaction between the slaveholder and nonslaveholder. Asymmetry of power between the slave and non-slave was conditioned by the dynamics of culture transfer (Harvey, p. 104). During the Cultural transfer, there was no mechanism to establish the strengths and weaknesses of the participating culture in such a situation. Hegemony and subjugation should be considered when analyzing acculturation. The phenomenon of Cultural exchange between African descent and European involved several factors. The degree and the form of contact between the blacks and the whites were dependants on factors such as the number of whites and blacks, the context of urban and rural, climate and topography, nature and plantation.Culture of Coercion In the second realm, the White had an advantage over the African.
They were physical, psychologically and military powers of coercion with a varying degree of influence that determines the choices of culture among the slaves. What resulted was a system of cultural code of imposition and a culture of coercion from the synthesis of an encounter between European and African Cultural forms. Therefore, the African Americans were involved in poly-cultural rather than syncretism life-styles. In the end, both culture volition and the culture of coercion were simultaneously maintained in areas occupied by whites and other in the slave quarters where the white representative was absent. The culture of coercion dominated how people made expression, intent and what transpired behind the slaves’ participation (Baptist, p. 1620). Even though the slaveholder commanded conformity among the slave, they could not dictate what feeling and the inner person posture. The volatile realm of acculturation can be enhanced through the synthesis which best characterizes the activities.
Sufficient evidence shows that Art, folklore, language, music and social structure enable the African descent to select carefully various cultural elements, both combination of African and European creative and innovative cultures. It also provided a consistent and viable culture that has the ability to adapt and change when exposed to external forces. The slave community made deliberate cultural choices within the volatile realm. They borrowed what was good for them from the external community, and made an improvement on existing commonalities of African cultures. African American collective was involved in a movement that condemned race and ethnicity as the primary criterion of inclusion. Conclusion Gomez in his book argues in his book “Exchanging our country marks” that Africans had to exchange their “ethnic” with other ideas of race and class in the modern African-American community which was built on a solid foundation of “ethnic” privilege and difference. It is all about how African people moved from ethnicity to race.
There was a demand of certain “ethnicities” that had a privilege to work on easier assignment as domestic and tradesmen in colonial and antebellum societies. Other “ethnicities” were sent to work in the field, which caused division those who did easier and those who were sent to work in the field. Those who did easier assignment emerged as a privileged class of black elite who were less interested with embracing their “African” past. Works citedBaptist, Edward E. “”Cuffy,””fancy maids,” and “one-eyed men”: rape, commodification, and the domestic slave trade in the United States.” The American Historical Review 106.5 (2001): 1619-1650.Gomez, Michael Angelo.
Exchanging our country marks: The transformation of African identities in the colonial and antebellum South. Univ of North Carolina Press, 1998.Gomez, Michael Angelo. Exchanging our country marks: The transformation of African identities in the colonial and antebellum South.
Univ of North Carolina Press, 1998.Harvey, Mark. “Coercive Capitalisms: Politico-economies of Slavery, Indentured Labour and Debt Peonage.” Inequality and Democratic Egalitarianism. Manchester University Press, 2018.
Spady, James O’Neil. “Power and confession: on the credibility of the earliest reports of the Denmark Vesey slave conspiracy.” The William and Mary Quarterly 68.2 (2011): 287-304.