Essay on The Civil War, Life For African Americans

Essay on The Civil War, Life For African Americans

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In the years following the Civil War, life for African Americans changed. Consequently, their literature did as well. This period, known as the Reconstruction, was a time of post-war uncertainty, characterized by aftermath of the abolishing of slavery, where the “societal role of freed slaves was yet to be determined” (Gates and Smith 506). While the war may have officially ended with “Confederate president Jefferson Davis [fleeing] Richmond, Virginia” the turmoil that had been brewing in the South was far from over. A new struggle erupted, between those freshly-freed slaves fighting to exercise their newly attained rights and the faction who had campaigned to retain slavery now intent on maintaining the oppression of African Americans. Disgruntled whites launched vicious attacks of lynching, formed hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and employed other extreme measures in a desperate attempt to save their supremacy. In response, African American authors such as Charles W. Chesnutt and Ida B. Wells fought back with their literature. Perhaps one of the most famed of an author whose literature had a mission was W.E.B. Du Bois, who refuted white rule through educating his audience of the associated perils, and implementing calls for action.
For starters, each African American who wrote following the Reconstruction had a different motive, and a different strategy to complete it. In the case of Charles W. Chesnutt, he used his fiction to pander to a white audience and convey a message through impressive manipulation. In his story “The Wife of his Youth”, Chesnutt smartly pens a faction known as the “Blue Veins”. This society serves as a symbol of white supremacy, since they favored members with lighter skin, since they believed the...

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... Washington’s notions, and calls for a change in America to combat the Caucasian control.
In summary, following the significant battle that was the Civil War, a new disturbance befell the South. This struggle, between Euro and African Americans, was fought in different ways by the two parties. When white supremacy was challenged, whites reacted with lynching and hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. On the other hand, African Americans responded with their pens. Several African Americans retorted with literature. Author Charles W. Chesnutt fought with fiction, whereas Ida B. Wells-Barnett countered with a concise explanation of the increased violence. Additionally, a man by the name of W.E.B Du Bois answered with an impressive work titled “The Souls of Black Folk”, in which he stresses the importance of gradual change as the best way to combat white supremacy.

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