Black Americans After Reconstruction

Kim Eastridge
Jennifer Pena, Instructor
History 132 C31, C21
January 23, 2013
Black Americans Following the Civil War Southern black Americans faced many challenges following the Civil War. Although several major improvements were made, life for blacks in the South was far from perfect. This process of hoping to rebuild the war-torn South is known as the Reconstruction Era. There were many policies implemented during this time with the intentions of helping freed slaves. Initially Reconstruction looked good for blacks, as they were finally freed from slavery and the passing of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments were passed. These were aimed at helping to give blacks equal protection. However, black Americans’ struggle to gain equality was far from over, making this a very controversial era in American history.
In the beginning, Reconstruction looked good for blacks. They had been freed from slavery and amendments were passed that seemed promising for them in their quest for freedom and equality. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments stated that slavery was illegal, any person born in the U.S. was a citizen of the U.S., and any male citizen could vote no matter what race they are (462,465). Black Americans did not hope for anything out of the ordinary; they simply wanted an education, ownership of land, access to employment, and equality in laws and politics (455). Basically these former slaves wanted to be left alone by whites. With support from some Republican leaders, blacks in the South were becoming hopeful that their dreams may soon come true; they would finally have full citizenship. Congress established the Freedmen’s Bureau in 1865 in an effort to help former slaves to gain social and economic equality (455). The bureau would mark a notable step in education for blacks in the South. It is during the Reconstruction Era that blacks are given the right to vote and hold office for the first time in American history (462).

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