One of African American surnames is Johnson. The surname Jonson means son of John, and it originated from England and Scotland. The name itself is an ancestral name from someone named John.
The Atlantic Slave Trade
My ancestors originated from the Bantu speaking regions of western Africa. Some of them captured and some sold as slaves by the African kings and chiefs. The African chiefs and kings organized raids to detain and sell slaves to the slave traders during the Atlantic slave trade. Many of the ancestors were captured in the wars which were rampant during the slave trade era. Non-military way also enslaved many of them. Criminals, Social misfits and people who were accused of witchcraft were punished and sold to slavery. Those who rebelled from their families were from the society through enslavement. The kidnapping was also one way of selling ancestors into slavery though the act was sometimes considered as an abomination. The slave trade affected most of my ancestral families and communities, but they tried so hard to protect their beloved persons (Klein, 2009).
The journeys of my ancestors to the colonies were terrible and horrific. Those who tried to escape were killed. Most of the ancestors lost their families as they aligned for transport in the slave ships and during the journey, their masters isolated many of them by gender qualities. They were too many, and the vessels were too small to accommodate them, and as a result, they barely moved around freely. The captive males overcrowded in the holding area and those positioned in the underground suffered massive injuries from the voyages placed on the floor. Most of my ancestors also died from the disease caused by poor hygiene, malnourishment, and lack of drinking water. Some of them refused to take food, but the crew members had to force them to eat by whipping, torturing, opening their mouths forcefully thus breaking their teeth.
Women and children were hidden from their husbands and fathers. The crew kept them for pleasure. Ottobah Cugoano, a survivor of the Middle Passage, remembered: "it was common for the dirty filthy sailors to take the African women and lie upon their bodies. The slave masters raped and killed most of the women on the ship during these journeys. My old male slaves did not like this cruel behavior from their masters. As a result, the slaves who were strangers built up relationships and they plotted a rebellion plan. But most of the rebellion plans did not come to pass because of the large numbers of the ship crew. These journeys took as long as six months to arrive at the destination (Klein, 2009).
Challenges faced in North America
North America was a thriving slave society when my ancestors first arrived. They suffered a lot of problems during their settlement and pursuit. On arrival, they were put in the holding areas, and as a result, they got separated from their friends. The slaves were put on auction, and the masters bought them. They found it hard to survive in a society that claimed to own and provide them with their basic needs. They were not authorized to come up with decisions regarding their own lives, and as a result, they were tortured, bought or sold, awarded, educated or murdered at their master's will. All the desired things in their lives were to be practiced in the slave societys aim to reject their right to humanity (Snyder, 2010).
The African slaves and African American slaves provided slave labor in most parts of the North America. Some of the slaves cultivated the wheat and fruit fields in New York City and New Jersey. Others were mining minerals like lead and iron in the valley of Ohio and others were fishing and working on the docks of New England. They also applied their good skills working in the cotton fields located in the south when the plantations peaked in the 19th century.
My ancestors also applied the skills and trades they brought from their mother-land to North America. As a result, they improved the North American industries and agricultural practices. They experience that my ancestors had in opening the waterways helped to pave the canals and the rivers. This action reduced the trafficking of boats, and the African cattle traders were capable of applying their abilities to ox groups and livestock (Snyder, 2010).
The Bantu Speakers
My tribal Bantu speakers were great iron smelters. They were the main reason for the upcoming of the Iron Age and the civilization of agriculture in the hunting and gathering Neolithic groups. But their way of life changed due to the integration of communities. They moved from one place to another searching for fertile lands to cultivate their crops and rare their animals and as a result, they came in contact with many other different communities. (Currie, Meade, Guillon, & Mace, 2013).
Owning a lot of cattle was a right image of wealth, and it earned one a social position in the community. They practiced ritual activities during birth, adult marriage, puberty, and death. They also involved themselves in trading activities. Among the congo people where my tribal community resided, artisans came up with a variety of products including; weaving long threads, baskets, molding pots, iron works, and crafting wood. The hunters and boat builders improved the economic value of physical strength and paved the way for market labor.
A village was the primary socio-political unit whereas family was the smallest unit consisting of the father, mother, and children. The father was the head of the house, and many were polygamous. The settlements divided into chiefdoms with the village chief as the head. The seat of the chief was hereditary. A village chief held meetings with the village elders in the village. The leader together with the village elders settled disputes that arose in the village (Currie et al., 2013).
Customs and beliefs
My tribal Bantu speakers were religious, and they believed in the supernatural world of magic, witchcraft, and sorcery. They believed in spirits and existence of a supernatural God. They also believed in life after death. They thought that the ghosts could harm any values of the living (Currie et al., 2013).
The Impact of cultural values and beliefs
The cultural values and beliefs have significantly influenced the person I am today. The traditional cuisines have thought me about proper diet. I am up to date to the new diet trends that come up every year. I learn about the full spectrum of the food I am supposed to take from the cuisines system. Most traditional cuisines encourage on making whole grains, vegetables, and fats. As an individual, I am much informed about other immigrant societies that introduce their diets to the American community.
I have also learned how to grow organics from many farmers. Many cultures from around the world have learned to preserve their food cultivating techniques. I have learned, and I value the cultural knowledge as an important asset in growing quality organic foods. I also attend the annual immigrant meetings where farmers discuss on how to combine traditional farming skills with modern cultivation skills.
My ancestors developed unique treatment techniques that have supplemented the American medical care, and thus I get adequate medical treatment whenever I fall sick. The American culture has adopted the medical systems learned from the immigrants.
A lot of industries have developed due to immigration. This development has dramatically helped to improve the economy of the United States. There are more job opportunities for everyone around the country. I am pleased that whenever I finish my studies, I will not have to struggle to get a good job. There is a vast number of jobs all over the United States.
I am a Christian by birth. Today, I get to interact with a lot of people from different religions ranging from Muslims, Rastafarians, and Buddhists. I am knowledgeable about their pros and cons. This information helps me to blend into any religious gathering. I am glad that I interact freely with anyone despite our religious and skin color differences.
Snyder, T. L. (2010). Suicide, Slavery, and Memory in North America. Journal of American History, 97(1), 39-62. doi:10.2307/jahist/97.1.39
Currie, T. E., Meade, A., Guillon, M., & Mace, R. (2013). Cultural phylogeography of the Bantu Languages of sub-Saharan Africa. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280(1762), 20130695-20130695. doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.0695
Klein, H. S. (2009). The Atlantic Slave Trade. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511779473
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