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Visual culture was important to the Afro-Americans as it reminded them of the far they had come thus making them have a sense of national identity. Visual studies included the field of art history, domains of film studies, communication and cultural and studies. David Peters and Janet Wolf gave an example of how the idea of “Americaness” could be portrayed through cinema, photography and painting. Visual culture was used to convey various messages about the situation that was facing the blacks. There were painting showing the evils of slavery and mistreatment of black workers. Cinemas were organized with an aim of arousing the blacks to arise and fight for their rights. Music was composed condemning the social injustices happening against the blacks and advising that all should unite. African music also tried to address the social issues that faced black Americans e.g. poverty and drugs. Concepts such as ethnographic filming arose. Picture taken during the civil war and the reconstruction period were shown with the aim of giving a visual evidence of the role of the blacks in the liberation. Africans wanted to their culture and history recognized and appreciated by the rest of the population. They believed that by doing so they felt a sense of belonging. Pictures of African troops in a caravan taken during the war showed the role played by African Americans in the liberation.

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Business at the centre of black enterprise. After the end of the war, majority of the blacks migrated to the towns to look for jobs and better livelihood. Because the jobs available were few and offered poor pay, the immigrants had to venture to business in order to supplement the little they earned. Africans did not also own land and those who were lucky to have had no capital to develop it. This made them join hands and open small kiosks and shops. Majority of Africans were illiterate and therefore could not take the competitive jobs offered in some industries that required skilled labor.Africans could only therefore venture to business which earned them capital yet did not require any educationor much investment.

Effects on family and marriage. After the war, the African families tried to reunite and retain their family values. Free Africans started to work and get money in order to buy their relatives who were still in bondage. After the war, the Afro-American nucleus family was weakened by the rural urban migration and hard economic times. Many African America children were raised by a single parent mostly the mother. In a broader concept, the extended family had gained a lot of strength and was involved in providing emotional and economic support. Elder members of the society passed social and cultural values to the young. In return, the young cared for the elder member of society and assisted them in their dairy cores. This kind of relationship existed in all economic levels of the Afro-American society and this gave strength and support to African-American society.


Though the law provided that all Americans were equal, great economic inequalities, social subjugation and political exclusion still existed long after the reconstruction period. White supremacy still reigned and there was reluctance in integrating the blacks to the mainstream governance system. It was clear that the blacks had a few more barriers to cross before they got full liberation.

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