The Free People of Color – Definition, Context and Disambiguation

Very few slave owners engaged in voluntary manumission until the revolution and the Civil War. Many slave owners took advantage of the power dynamics and engaged in sexual relations with their slaves. Sometimes these relationships lasted for extended periods of time. Very frequently, these relationships resulted in the birth of children – most of whom were not usually emancipated in English speaking colonies. However, it was more common in Spanish and French colonies such as those in South America and the Caribbean, for colonial fathers to acknowledge and emancipate children born of relations with African slaves. While there were numerous

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Women’s Suffrage Movement

Most democratic societies, ranging from ancient Greece and Rome to the emerging European democracies of the 18th century, had one thing in common – women were rarely, if ever, allowed to vote. Even when most democracies began to evolve and widen franchise, women were still denied voting rights. This lead to the 19th century movement which would come to be known as the Women’s Suffrage Movement. While the suffrage movement of the United States and the United Kingdom received worldwide attention, these nations were actually late to enfranchise women. By the time the 19th Amendment came to pass in the

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Defining Police Brutality in the U.S

Contrary to popular opinion, police brutality is not a new issue nor is it limited to the United States. It has a long global history. However, the first step in understanding the different aspects of police brutality is defining it. In the American context, Britannica defines it as, ‘the unwarranted or excessive and often illegal use of force against civilians by U.S police officers.’ Actions that may be regarded as police brutality include physical assault and battery, torture, manhandling and murder. However, many consider verbal and physical harassment, threats and false arrests to constitute police brutality as well. On a

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USA 2020: The Social Justice Issues We Face Today

The world today is complicated. Technological advancements have ensured that we are more connected than ever before, yet in many ways we have never been more disconnected. While we sit in the comfort of our homes, we have access to information from across the global,  literally within the palms of our hands. We are more aware than ever before of the problems faced by humanity in different parts of the world. Yet the distance provides a sense of security. What we fail to realize is that in a globalized world, every issue is a global one. The United States today

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The Importance of Gender Equality

Defining Gender Equality Gender equality is the idea that everyone, regardless of gender, has equal access to resources and opportunities. These include access to education, economic participation and independence, and political participation and representation. This means that gender is irrelevant when it comes to valuing different behaviors, aspirations, needs, and opinions equally. The idea of gender equality also extends to the legal, social, and political rights, freedoms and protections that a state must offer to all citizens regardless of gender. Origins of Gender Inequality According to a study published in the European Journal of Archaeology, gender equality can be traced

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Black Suffrage – A History of African American Voting Rights

Suffrage, in a democratic system of government, is the right to vote and actively participate in the election of political representatives and other public officials. It may also extend to include the right to reject legislation. Universal political suffrage in the United States, or political franchise, has been a gradual process of the extension of voting rights from privileged groups such as white male Americans to the entire adult population. In many parts of the world, exclusion from the voting process has often been based on factors such as race, gender, religion, social class, residency, criminality, and literacy among many

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The American Civil Rights Movement

The Black Lives Matter movement has been successful in bringing the injustice and discrimination faced by African Americans to the forefront of American politics and discussions. Critics, however, argue that the movement is violent and misguided, and some say that there is no need for such a movement today. While it is true that African Americans and people of different races, ethnic backgrounds and even sexual orientations enjoy more liberties and rights than ever before, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Also, it is important to acknowledge that the freedoms enjoyed today by non-white Americans can, largely,

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The Importance Of Social Justice

We are living in an era of contradictions. While we should focus on building a unified approach towards fighting a global pandemic, we are more divided than ever. We are more connected than ever before in human history, yet are unable to understand the plight of others. We see an evolution of human rights, but see no end to conflict. We are more willing to accept differences, yet discrimination is on the rise. We are living in an era where we have greater freedoms than ever before, yet we see no end to injustice. So where do we go from

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Black Lives Matter: Why It Matters

Racial and ethnic differences have been a recurring theme in many conflicts in different parts of the world. While it is the 21st century and the situation is, arguably, better than at any other point in history, we only need to turn on the television or look at different social media platforms to come across the realization that race and ethnicity based problems are far from over. So why are these problems being highlighted in the United States? Perhaps the reason is that the existence of racial discrimination and injustice contradicts the core values of the United States as a

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Prominent Women In African American History

African Americans today are pop culture icons, leaders, pioneers, inventors, entrepreneurs, doctors, and judges, and so much more. However, this wasn’t always possible. There was a time that personal and professional opportunities were scarce for African Americans – even more so for African American women. From fighting against slavery to fighting for voting and civil rights, from fighting against racism to overcoming the odds and achieving unparalleled fame and success; African American have done it all. Countless Black women have left their mark on American history. It would be difficult to include every Black woman that has contributed to the

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