Explain How Freedoms for African Americans Were Socially, Politically, and Economically Limited from 1865 to 1900
Although the Thirteenth Amendment had outlawed slavery, it was clear that the Black codes were stilled a problem to many freedmen. The Black codes, which passed soon after the Civil War ended, helped maintain a cheap source of farm labor and sustained the social hierarchy. These codes made it illegal for African Americans to carry weapons or vote. They could not serve on juries, testify in court against or marry white citizens, or travel without permits. The Black codes weren’t completely gone until 1868 when the 14th amendment was ratified. Not many other extreme problems occurred until the end of the 19th century when the Jim Crow laws emerged. Jim Crow laws were racial segregation laws that separated white citizens and African Americans in schools, hospitals, parks, and on railroads. Segregated Southern schools gave white students new textbooks and clean, well-lighted facilities, whereas African Americans had to make do with torn, out-of-date books. Often several grades of African American students were crowded into a single room. Economic conditions at the end of the 19th century were an obstacle to improvement for African Americans. During the Civil War, countries deprived of cotton from the South had begun to grow their own cotton. By the time production resumed in the South, market prices had been cut in half. Banks that had loaned money to the Confederate government could not collect their debts. Credit became increasingly hard to obtain. An economic panic in 1873 led to the closure of some banks. Railroad companies went out of business, and the stock market collapsed. For many African Americans there was little choice. To remain in the South was to face poverty, violence, and discrimination. Leaving the South seemed to be the only option. African Americans faced segregation and discrimination in many northern cities as well.