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Slaves defied the premise of slavery simply through their own existence, their cognizance, their humanity. Why Should I Care? This is a story for activists. And idealists. And anyone who ever fought for a cause that seemed impossible to win, because the odds appeared too insurmountable and because no one seemed to listen. Before there ever was a United States of America, people on this continent were fighting against the evils of slavery. Generations of humanitarians who would never live to see emancipation day still dedicated their lives to try and make people understand why bondage was wrong.
He later went on to assist victims of the Civil War from his post in the national capital, and then the government in devising programs to help former slaves. Yet in a disheartening turn, fueled in no small part by the failure of the Reconstruction period, Garnett lost hope and faith in the prospect of a black future on American soil. He was appointed minister to Liberia in 1881 and supported colonization. Two months after his arrival in Africa, he died. In many ways, Garnett represents the most cynical aspect of the colonization movement: the conviction that blacks and whites cannot coexist on equal terms in American society, because white prejudice is just too great.
It also provided a rationalization for maintaining a strict racial hierarchy in southern society. Southern intellectuals and leaders increasingly feared the prospect of racial mixing and aggressively began to propose pseudo-scientific theories on the inherent inferiority of the black and mulatto races. Nonetheless, unexpected events in the South constantly threatened to undermine this tenuous and superficial vision of a stable and secure racial hierarchy. The "positive good" argument maintained that slavery kept blacks in their rightful place and actually took better care of them than the heartless, impersonal world of "wage slavery" in the industrial North ever could.
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