Question

Note similarities and differences between the situations of African Americans, both free and enslaved, in the North, South, and West.

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There were quite a few similarities and differences between situations of African Americans, both free and enslaved in the North, South and West. South: Both sets were not allowed to vote, attend schools, or testify in court. The main difference was that free African Americans were not the property of white slave owners. However, even though they had a relatively better life, laws forced them to find gainful employment or they could be sentenced to forced labor (316). North: Free blacks in the north had more freedoms than their southern counterparts, they enjoyed the right to vote, could move around more freely, and in some cities, they had the opportunity to attend schools. However, racial discrimination still persisted when it came to accessing public facilities and in many cases, only the lowest paying jobs were available to them. Moreover, by the middle of the 19th century, most states had limited their right to vote. West: Many free blacks moved to the west to get away from discrimination and start life anew. However, discrimination followed them there too, and most lost their economic freedoms and voting rights by the middle of the century as the western territories joined the Union.

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