After the amendment was passed and ratified, African Americans were under the impression that they had own freedom and equality. However, they were met with hate and discrimination as they tried to work their way up the social ladder. the newly freed slaves were faced with black codes that belittled the rights of African Americans. Back codes called for the arrest of African Ame...
The four-year war between the states not only left the southern cities destroyed, economy in shambles and its people destitute, but it also introduced an overwhelming population of former slaves to be integrated into the folds of the victorious Union. Freedom for the blacks came slow and progress on their behalf was contaminated, inconsistent and feeble. Freedmen and women, accustomed to strife and adversity, desired only equality as citizens of the United States, however that status was going to come at a hefty price. Lincoln proclaimed the slaves freedom in the midst of the Civil War, but that freedom was neither instant nor accepted at war’s end. With great uncertainty and only the title of freedmen the black community immediately sought out their greatest needs no matter what brutality they faced from those that refused to accept their freedom.
As a result of those southern states that rejoined the Union, African Americans were legally classed as American citizens, allowing them access to rights that they were previously limited to. For example, in the eyes of the law, ex slaves could, in theory, leave their masters and set up a new home elsewhere. This, however, would be an impossible task considering black Americans were uneducated, making them illiterate, and financially instable with very little money to their name. The issue, to some extent, was solved with the introduction to the Freedman’s Bureau where congress had provided ‘practical aid to 4,000,000 newly freed black Americans’ allowing them the opportunity to survive independently in a new setting. As well as this, African Americans were also introduced to the electorate, having been given the right to vote and take part in societal issues that concerns them thus enabling them to have a political voice that should be taken into account. This further emphasises that Reconstruction was successful, and therefore, should be regarded as such.
The first advancement in the free Negro history was when they were released from slavery’s grasp through the Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation. While the Civil War was not only about the questioned ethics of harboring slaves, it was one of the driving forces that fueled the war, and led to many people giving their lives to either protect or condemn slavery. About 620,000 people lost their lives fighting for freedom in the Civil War, which is equivalent to the city of Baltimore, Maryland's entire population (Civil War Facts). Almost 40,000 African Americans died throughout the course of the war (Civil War Facts). However, once the Civil War was over, African Americans were not yet as free as they would have liked. They had to deal with segregation, which demoralized them and made them feel like they did not belong.Those feelings were made even worse with the Plessy v. Ferguson United States Supreme Court case. Even though Plessy was a free man, he was jailed for not being segregatd to make a s...
In May 1865, less than one month after the death of President Lincoln, the Freedman’s Bureau was established (DuBois Souls 21). The need for such an agency grew out of a “national crisis” of destitution and atrocious living conditions among freed slaves. The squalid reality of African Americans was exacerbated by violent terrorism (Coates 19-21). Deep racism and years of neglect resulted in lack of access to political agency, education, and the economic management skills required for self-sufficiency (Souls 17-18, 28; Balfour 26-28). Black people existed in an ambiguous and violent space between a citizen and a slave (Balfour 28). While legally free, former slaves were not allowed to exercise their freedom. In the south, they were driven from
The pursuit of freedom, recognition, and protection under the Constitution has been a struggle for African Americans. Their journey has been filled with slavery, physical and psychological torture, and persecution. While most of their hardships were experienced in the South, the North was not considered a safe haven unless an African American was a documented free slave. Even then they were not considered equal for a long time. While black and white abolitionists and free slaves in America were advocating abolishing slavery, Southern whites were willing to defend slavery's existence until they were forced to abandon it. This force, rooted in ethnocentrism, power, racism, and the pursuit of wealth, was difficult to overcome, but ultimately it was defeated through education, civil war, conflicting economic interests, rebellions, and courage.
Free at Last, Free at Last I thank God I am Free at Last. “For we colored people did not know how to be free and the white people do not know how to have a free colored people about them”, written by Houston Hartsfield Holloway. In 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation freed African Americans in rebel states. After the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment emancipated all U.S. slaves. Freedom was what was established, but it was not how the African Americans felt. They were still dealing with many hostile whites. The South did not welcome this new Reconstruction. Whites did not want to live with Blacks in a non-slave society. The south felt that Reconstruction was humiliating and vengeful.
Although the Civil War is celebrated as the time of emancipation, emancipation was not the primary issue at stake. This leads to wondering how the Emancipation Proclamation and the 14th amendment actually affected the life of the average black. If emancipation was a side effect or an afterthought, what did it really mean? Truly, although blacks were legally freed after the war, they were in many ways still enslaved to the white man. But although the majority of whites in the South did desire and often succeed in keeping the “freedmen” under their control, some few truly did desire to see blacks succeed in the world. Also, the status of blacks during the war was intriguing; for the North, blacks from the South and Northern blacks were treated the same. And that same was inferior to the whites of the North.
Foner discusses the concept of Reconstruction as one that is constantly changing and representative of a larger political revolution. He calls it ‘one of the most violent, dramatic and controversial’ periods of United States history and while that might be the case it was also one of the most enlightening. It highlights socio-political and economic concerns that are still evident in contemporary society. Immigration and racial equality are by no means concerns that are without resolution today but they are issues in society in which we are able to compare to past failures. There are long term patterns that have persisted following reconstruction. The Freedman’s Bureau, Jim Crow, Black Codes and the Civil Rights movement, these all proceeded from or were a part of reconstruction. The revolutionary nature of Reconstruction was not in its implementation but rather in its ideology. This was a nationwide awareness and lawful application of Black emancipation. The success or failure of Reconstruction does not detract from its revolutionary ideals. It is important to recognise the fundamental affect Reconstruction had in a historical
Liberty has been exercised as a born, natural right ever since the birth of mankind. Resistance to authority partaking in giving such rights of liberty the whole time span. It seems there are many different definitions existing for the term “liberty.” Liberty is most commonly defined, in Merriam-Webster Dictionary, as the “state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on ones way of life, behavior, or political views.” People have always thought of liberty as freedom, self-government, and independence for hundreds of years since before the thirteen original colonies. However, back in the 19th century it was typical for such rights to not even be considered when regarding an African American person, whether they be a slave or freeman. In Solomon Northrups’ autobiography 12 Years A Slave, this was a prominent factor, how he as a free man was eradicated from his simple life, and then thrust into the seemingly