The first slave stepped onto American soil in 1619 beginning a system of enslavement that would last for nearly 250 years. The United States would not exist without the contributions of a group of people that were defined by the color of their skin. African Americans were the basis of an economic system on which the wealth of a nation was built. Slavery was replaced with a series of laws and social codes that prevented African Americans from enjoying basic human rights. The legacy of oppression and its effects on American society are still felt today. This resilient group of people who faced cruelty and dehumanization, also show a history of resistance and perseverance by fighting for their freedom, rights, and humanity.