Essay on the Life of African American After the Reconstruction

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Wesleyan University
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During the era, the life of the African Americans was more of a new wave of problematic issues at best. Most historians will argue that the era was a failure for the African Americans. The African American were given access to their freedom by the Fourteenth Amendment, but they gained nothing else after that. The southern States had not taken the loss of control of slaves; they were bitter and resentful were determined by all means to keep the African Americans as close to slavery as possible. To archive, this most of the southern states passed Black Codes that restricted the rights for the African American. Despite the Fourteenth Amendment that ensured the civil rights for the African Americans but their rights were violated by abandonment. The Jim Crows rules started taking effect where the black Americans were forced to use different facilities such as the hotels, buses and other different recourses. They were also denied the right to sit on juries.

In 1896 the U.S Supreme Court sanctioned the actions of the southern States in the case of Plessy Vs. Ferguson which held the racially separated facilities were constitutionally protected as long as they were equal even though this was not the case on the actual ground. This led to the doctrine separate but equal which lasted till 1954. The fourteenth amendment passed the right for the African Americans, but the Southern States managed to come up with creative ways to circumvent this Amendment by imposing taxes, literacy requirement and more rules which eliminated them from voting.

Different organizations such as the Freedmans Bureau tried to fight for the African Americans although their efforts bared no fruits since other organization such as Knight of the White Camellia and the Ku Klux Klan made serious moves to terrorize the African American, the movements also threated any organization which tried to make any moves to help the people.

During the reconstruction era, the African Americans lived a better life than before although not as good as it would have been expected by all. The African Americans had political rights as seen and also some social services provided by the Freedmen's Bureau. The organization encouraged them to have African American school churches and other things such as the self-help societies.

The ending of slavery called for the freedom for the African Americans, over 2000 African Americans held government Jobs. The established churches, education centers saw earlier were central elements in the lives of post-emancipation African American. Many African Americans lived in poverty across the South. This was due to lack of jobs since they did not qualify for the jobs and the white did not want to give them jobs as well as they needed to have them poor so as to retain them as their slaves indirectly.

Main issues which the African American were facing during slavery such as brutality, indignities of slave life, sexual assault, the whipping, selling and forcible relocation of family members, low wages, denial of education, legal marriage, home ownership and more. They celebrated this newfound freedom both privately and in public.

As seen a lot changed during the reconstruction era but the white did their best to see that the African Americans did not enjoy their newly acquired freedom. As seen earlier the black codes which granted the African Americans different rights while the same codes which restricted the African Americans from; serve on the jury, testifying against the white, and serve in state military.


Atkinson, David C. "Racial Reconstruction: Black Inclusion, Chinese Exclusion, and the Fictions of Citizenship." (2017): 98-100.

Brett, Mia. "The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era." (2016): 239.

Fortune, T. Thomas. After War Times: An African American Childhood in Reconstruction-Era Florida. University of Alabama Press, 2014.

Jenkins, Jeffery A., and Justin Peck. "Congress and Civil Rights: The Early Reconstruction Era, 1865-1871." (2016).

Sullivan, Sarah K. "Extralegal Violence: The Ku Klux Klan In The Reconstruction Era." Elements 12, no. 2 (2016).

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