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Of all the things I have learned in this class, I think the most valuable for me was how to rethink the racial History of the United States. In the general narrative of America’s history many interesting stories were marginalized as well as the people who lived those stories. The two periods that especially intrigue me are the period before slavery was normalized and the very beginning of post-slavery america. These interest me the most because there were stories of black Americans that I had not previously been aware of.
In the time before slavery was radicalized and normalized, there were actually a fare amount of freed people in the United States. They lived lives that surprised me greatly. I remember reading taylor and learning about the free black Americans who lived in the north east. Some of them were well off, and some of them had slaves. These two things were very important for me in terms of deconstructing the racial history that I have been taught. The fact that there were African Americans who had enough agency to accrue wealth for themselves before slavery really gained its footing speaks volumes. In addition, the fact that these African Americans themselves own slaves further problematizes the dominant narrative of american history in which only whites owned slaves. Furthermore, it raises interesting questions as to what type of rationale black slave owners had for owning slaves themselves. These things served me well in that they allowed be to develop an extremely nuanced view of History that I think help to sharpen my critical analysis abilities overall.