The African-American Odyssey

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The African-American Odyssey

The Promise of Reconstruction, 1865-1868

The emancipation of the African slave who was now disconnected from their traditions and way of life after nearly 300 years, is seemingly a great gush from the dam to the ebbs and flows of the struggle. The end of slavery as we know it, presented a ball of mixed emotions among the nation; North and SOUTH. Some slaves were grossly ecstatic to be free. For example, when a slave girl named Caddy, from Goodman, Mississippi found she was free, went to her mistress, flipped up her dress and told her "Kiss my ass!" On the contrary, some slaves were apprehensive of being free. For example, one elderly slave woman reportedly said, "I ain' no free nigger! I is got a marster and mistiss! Dee right dar in de great house. Ef you don' believe me, you go dar an' see." Though most slaves were detached from their families, many managed to regroup and find their love ones after their emancipation and constructed close knit families. Land was an viable means of survival in the minds of newly freedmen and the government was eager to deem lands to the ex-slaves . On January 16, 1865, General William T. Sherman told the freedmen that they will receive the land they were in search of. They were granted the head of each family would receive "possessory title" to forty acres of land. Sherman also gave the use of Army mules, thus giving rise to the slogan, "Forty acres and a mule." Similarly in 1862 the Union military set aside land in Port Royal, South Carolina, which became known as the Port Royal experiment. The freedmen bureau was created to aid newly freed slaves in the transition from bondage to freedom in 1865. After Lincoln's assassination the succession of his Vice president...

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...oad loans. As a result, the bank closed in 1874. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was an act of good intentions, yet it was ruled unconstitutional by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Bradley who, "wrote that the Fourteenth Amendment protected black people from discrimination by states but not by private businesses." The end of Reconstruction was as brutal and contentious as the beginning. Blacks refused to vote in response to the terrorism inflicted upon them by the southern Democrats. The withdrawal of the federal troops that were to protect the rights of colored people left the black citizens with no means of defense and they therefore had to bow down to the numerous massacres that were to occur. The compromise of 1877, in which, Samuel J. Tilden and Rutherford B. Haynes, ran for the presidency, brought about more violence towards blacks and grew worse as time passed.

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