African American History: "Heritage, not Hate"

When exploring African-American history, the most important things to focus on are that because of the times, black people were enslaved and treated poorly. They endured it all and worked hard to rise above the boundaries of slavery and prejudice. However, the most portentous aspect of African-American history is that it's heritage; it's history; and it's over.

Jane Minor was born as Gensey Snow around the late 1700's or early 1800's. She was born into slavery and freed around 1825 when she changed her name. During her slavery, she faced the hardships of being a black female slave in the 1800's. Despite that, she earned a living after her emancipation by caring for the sick. With what money she had, she bought the freedoms of other women and children. She was an admirable woman.

Sally Hemmings was born in 1773 as a slave of Thomas Jefferson. However, historians found that she was much more than that. Later, it was discovered that she bore one of Jefferson's children. This perhaps could have been the reason she was given special treatment and was allowed to go to Paris with Mary Jefferson. Although, it has not been proven so. Sally's accomplishments included learning French and playing the harpsichord. Her freedom came in 1826 when Jefferson died.

Nat Turner was born on October 2, 1800 in Southampton County, VA to enslaved parents. He ran away from his master at 21 years old for religious reasons. Then, he traveled as a minister and spoke to slaves. On August 22, 1831, he killed his owners. He and a band of other slaves went on killing whites, and he was captured in 1831. There, he was hung and skinned.

As anyone can see, the preceding people faced suffering at the hands of others. Slavery was wrong. Yet, each person persevered and won his or her own battles one way or another. It took years and a lot of work. Being a part of history, it should be respected as just so. These people should be remembered and studied, but not necessarily glorified. Some slaves earned freedom by hard work; yet others took different approaches that weren't always admirable. The latter of these should not be condoned simply because the people were of a certain heritage. Nor should the slave owners be excused from blame. In addition, the people of today's generations should not be blamed for what happened in the past, which is beyond our control.