White People's Unwillingness to Recognize African Americans as Real People During the Reconstruction Era

White People's Unwillingness to Recognize African Americans as Real People During the Reconstruction Era

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After the four long, blood-stained years of the American Civil War, the Reconstruction Era commenced into full force. However, many unresolved issues still lingered in the air, such as how the Southern States would be readmitted into the Union, and how the African Americans would be accepted into society as freedmen. Regarding the latter concern, most whites in the South, and even the North, were reluctant to recognize African Americans as real people, and still stubbornly held on to their pre-emancipation ways of living. The following documents not only confirmed the white man’s unwillingness, but showed more in depth the awful racism African Americans had to experience.
The first document, “The Black Codes of Mississippi,” was released in 1865, being the first state to legislate a set of Black Codes. Its purpose was to hinder the rights of the recently emancipated African Americans. Ranging from bizarre and manipulative bans on juggling to intermarriage, whites in Mississippi and the other southern states tried everything they could to preserve their status as being “superior” to the African Americans. The next document was “Jourdon Anderson to his old master,” written on August 7, 1865 in Dayton, Ohio. Anderson had received a letter a couple of months earlier from his old master, who had asked Anderson to move back and work for him again. In his response, the former slave reported about how he was content with his new freedom and life, and did so in a cynical tone—which was unusual in its “slave humor.” Needless to say, Anderson declined his old master’s foolish request. Lastly, was the “Testimony on Ku Klux Klan in Congressional Hearing,” where an eight month pregnant African American, Harriet Postle, testified against the K...


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...ditionally, Jourdon Anderson’s old master unsuccessfully tried to use a letter by simply requesting him to return. And finally, the “Testimony on Ku Klux Klan in Congressional Hearing” proves that whites tried to intimidate blacks into inferiority by the use of violence. Although there were still numerous whites who fought for equal treatment of the blacks, many fell to such low standards in order to stay in control, which is quite the shameful price for power. And despite their official emancipation, African Americans would have to keep enduring through these hardships and racism for about another century.



Works Cited

Jourdon Anderson to Col. P. H. Anderson, August 7, 1865
Testimony on Ku Klux Klan in Congressional Hearing (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1872).
The Black Codes of Mississippi, Civil Rights of Freedmen in Mississippi, Sec. 7.

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