As far as non-Jewish Americans went, their understanding was flawed because they were also influenced by the gospels, which either propound false philosophies (like a divine trinity) or paraphrase values and ideas from the Torah and the Mishnah while acting like these were their own innovations.
But Americans did have access to the truth and many leaned away from a reliance on the gospel founder and more toward God on His Own, as should be.
Therefore, you have people like the following:
Born in Massachusetts in 1744 to a prominent political family, Abigail ended up marrying John Adams.
John Adams was America's first vice-president (he served under George Washington) and America's second president. (One of their sons, John Quincy Adams, would become America's sixth president.)
Due to their copious correspondence and journaling, we know quite a lot about the two of them.
In one of her most famous letters to her husband and Congress, she wrote:
"remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation."
On a trip to France, she attended a ballet and charmingly noted her appall at the immodesty of the dancers' costumes. On a trip to England, Abigail expressed her horror at the execution of petty criminals, especially the execution of child pickpockets.
But despite the fact that slavery was legal in America at that time, Abigail did not approve. In fact, she felt such strenuous opposition to the enslavement of black Americans that she blamed it for a cholera epidemic, suggesting that the epidemic was God's punishment for enslaving black people.
Moral people do not need radicals telling them what to think or feel. They writhe under injustice on their own.
Yet when one of his wife's relatives presented him with a black slave girl as a wedding present, Samuel promptly gave her freedom, then brought her up in their home. It's true that she wasn't raised as a daughter; children of that time who weren't immediate family members often grew up as apprentices to the families that raised them. But surviving correspondence shows that she was a cherished part of the family nonetheless.
Again, Samuel and his family had every legal right to keep the girl enslaved, but it went against their value system and so they behaved above the law, not within the law.
A Traveling Preacher
But she also wrote a collection of true stories she gathered over the years in a book called Magical Melons, later renamed Caddie Woodlawn's Family. The stories take place in the USA between 1863-1866.
The following story was told to Carol by the preacher's son, who personally witnessed the miraculous ending, insisting every word was true.
An impoverished traveling preacher was once riding on his horse through the snow with another horse rider at his side. Up ahead, they spotted something lying in the snow. When they passed right near it, they saw it was a Native American man passed out drunk in the falling snow.
The other man advised the preacher to leave the unconscious man there, calling him a "devil." He felt that one less Native American in the world would be a good thing.
But the preacher solemnly disagreed. Quoting from the Bible, he explained something like how all humans are made in God's Divine Image and expressed other Biblical values, then encouraged his reluctant companion to help him hoist the unconscious man onto the preacher's horse. In this way, the preacher brought the man to his tribe. (I think he just headed for the camp of the nearest tribe, assuming the unconscious man was from there.)
He passed him into the hands of the surprised tribe members, then proceeded on his way home.
With almost no work, little food available, and no donations, the preacher's family fell into a bad state. Snow was all they had to sustain themselves. (The son telling this story mentioned that when he and his siblings got older, they became expert hunters to sustain their family. But that winter, he was still a little boy.)
The preacher's wife cried out in desperation. In response, the preacher decided the entire family should pray to God to relieve their starvation.
And so they did.
Just then, the door suddenly opened and the same Native American man the preacher had saved strode in carrying a freshly cut leg of deer. He thunked the enormous chunk of meat down on the table, said some words of gratitude and explanation, then went on his way.
This saved the preacher's family.
It bears pointing out that no one was screaming at the preacher "Native American lives matter!" And I seriously doubt the preacher used politically correct speech to refer to the local tribes. Probably he even called them "red." In fact, the preacher even faced pressure NOT to help the Native American passed out drunk in the snow.
Furthermore, traveling with such a weight on horseback and going out of his way in such cold weather when he himself wasn't well-fed must have been a serious inconvenience.
But he did it anyway.
And they all did so out of religious conviction. Their unifying belief was that every human was made in the Image of God. And they were all familiar with Torah passages that emphasized compassion toward "the stranger," loving one's neighbor as oneself, and knowing that God's Mercy is upon all His Creations. They also feared God's Judgement for doing the wrong thing, especially indicated by Abigail Adam's response to a cholera epidemic.
(And yes, I realize that some people read the same Tanach and still remained racist and immoral. Cognitive dissonance can happen to anyone. But the people who really stood up against racism and even risked themselves did so out of convictions based on Torah values.)
If a society really wants to eradicate racism (or any other ills), they need to bring Hashem into the picture. Screaming, harassment, and twisting or obstructing the truth will never help.
Why No One Needs BLM; We Just Need God