Essay on Primary Document Analysis : Harriet Hernandes

Essay on Primary Document Analysis : Harriet Hernandes

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Primary Document Analysis
A little less than a year after the Fifteenth Amendment passed, Harriet Hernandes and her daughter were dragged from their homes and beaten by the Ku Klux Klan because her husband voted in the recent election. In the Court Document, Harriet Hernandes, A South Carolina Woman, Testifies Against the Ku Klux Klan, 1871 in Spartanburgh, South Carolina, on July 10, 1871, Harrier gives her testimony about what has been happening to her and her family. The audience was the congressional committee appointed to investigate into Ku Klux Klan activity, until they made the testimony public, then the audience was all who cared to read about the terrorism that was brought by the KKK. Although African American men have been given the right to vote, they were not listened to and they were not safe, African Americans were being hunted and dehumanized by Ku Klux Klan, in hopes that republicans, especially African Americans were discouraged to vote and carry out the duties they were given as citizens.
The Ku Klux Klan visited Hernades’ home twice and each time they were looking for her husband. The first time they invaded their home came as a warning because her husband was not home. Hernades’ told the court that they threatened her with guns and said; “they were going to shoot my damned brains out if I did not tell where my husband was”. If her husband had not been working, he would have been shot right then by the men. The second visit was more violent. Two months after the first invasion, the KKK came back to kill her husband, however, this time he was hiding. In fact, many African Americans hid at night out of fear of the KKK. When asked what the people in her neighborhood do to stay safe from the KKK, Hernandes replie...


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... and she replied; “They have no satisfaction to live like humans”, they were reverted into living like they had when they had no rights, in fear. This continued until the KKK scared them enough to refrain from voting, which soon after lead to democratic defeat from these radical republicans.
To be honest, as I read this document it made me tear up. It was all so full of truth and you can feel the fear that many African Americans felt at that time as you read the words that Hernandes spoke. They refused to sleep in their own homes for fear that themselves and their families would be tortured or killed. The Ku Klux Klan instilled so much fear and intimidation into African Americans that it leads to the end of reconstruction. This document pains a sorrowful and vivid picture of what life was like for African Americans and republicans during the time of reconstruction.

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