Drawing The Colorline Essay
"Drawing the Color line" by Howard Zinn gives light to some of the horrible truths of slavery, racism and early American History.The chapter from A People's history of the United States goes into detail on the slave trade, conditions of 17th century America, how and why slavery happened, and the many conflicts slavery brought about.
Zinnfirst tells us how American was prone to getting into slavery because of the condition in the early 17th century.People were starving, and the settlers couldn't do enough work to feed even themselves.Zinn tells us that some were so starved in the winter that they "dug up graves to eat the corpses"(24).Also, many of the settlers weren't used to working and didn't even know how.They didn't want to work, yet they wanted to eat and make money off of their new discovery of tobacco planting.They couldn't force Indians because the Indians were "tough, resourceful, and at home in these woods" (25).So, the early settlers got into the African slave trade.Zinn suggests that the colonists may have been so enraged that the Native Americans could so easily survive, even with little technology, that it made the colonist want to do anything just to keep up with them.
Zinn explains that blacks were not the easiest of peoples to capture into slavery because they were 100 million strong, and the only thing that set them apart from whites was their lack of guns.Often times Africans were capturing other Africans for profit.They sometimes marched in shackles for 1,000 miles, 2 in 5 dieing, to be put in cages when they reached the coast."Choking in the stench of their own excrement"(28) the slaves were shipped across the Atlantic, 1 in 3 dieing on the journey over, some jumping overboard to their death to escape further suffering.
Although there were indentured white servant