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Among the flood of immigrants to North America, one group came unwillingly. These were Africans, 500,000 of whom were brought over as slaves between 1619 and 1808, when importing slaves into the United States became illegal. The practice of owning slaves and their descendants continued, however, particularly in the agrarian South, where many laborers were needed to work the fields. The process of ending slavery began in April 1861 with the outbreak of the American Civil War between the free states of the North and the slave states of the South, 11 of which had left the Union. On January 1, 1863, midway through the war, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery in those states that had seceded. Slavery was abolished throughout the United States with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the country's Constitution in 1865. Even after the end of slavery, however, American blacks were hampered by segregation and inferior education. In search of opportunity, African Americans formed an internal wave of immigration, moving from the rural South to the urban North. But many urban blacks were unable to find work; by law and custom they had to live apart from whites, in run-down neighborhoods called ghettos. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, African Americans, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., used boycotts, marches, and other forms of nonviolent protest to demand equal treatment under the law and an end to racial prejudice.
Immigrants from Northern and Western Europe.
In the 1820’s many people in Europe, suffering from poverty, war and discrimination, began emigrating to the United States. They hoped for better opportunities in the United States. During the first half-century, most immigrants came from the countries of north-western Europe-Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and Norway.
During these years the United States was expanding in to what is now the Midwest. The Midwest had a lot of land good for farming. That’s why many new immigrants became farmers in the Midwest. Even today, German and Scandinavian influence is felt in Midwestern foods and festivals.
Immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe.
Between the 1870’s and the 1930’s many immigrants came to the United States from the countries of southern and eastern Europe-Italy, Greece, Poland and Russia. The United States was now developing into a mainly industrial country. Much of the farmland in the Midwest had been settled, so the new wave of immigrants moved to cities and worked in factories.