The Progression of African Americans from 1865 to 1920
America has changed, as a whole, throughout this time period. There have been many different presidents, elections, wars and other world issues. These factors contribute to the drastic change in America and to the American people. African Americans have gone through many different changes other than those of the other races. With the end of the Civil War, African Americans went through a lot of change with the end of slavery.
Throughout this essay I will explain the legislature, economic, philosophies, leaders, movement of people and other factors that contributed to the drastic change of the African American people between 1865 to 1920. In 1865 Reconstruction stared after the end of the civil war. Even though President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Slavery did not officially end until congress passed the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery. Freedmen were no allowed to be citizens until 1868 when congress passed the 14th amendment.
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The 14th amendment also allowed blacks the right to equal protection under the law. The first Supreme Court Interpretation of the 14th amendment was in the Slaughterhouse Case. This case extended the 14th amendment to all citizens. Even with the end of slavery and the right to citizenship, African Americans still didn’t have an easy life. With the end of slavery African Americans faced the issue of not being able to vote or in some not being allowed to own land.
The Black codes, which laws were passed by state legislatures to suppress blacks and put them is form of slavery that was legal at the time. To fix the problem of blacks not being able to vote, congress passed the 15th amendment, which made it legal for blacks to vote. Even with the right to vote blacks were suppressed by and scared out of voting be the Klu Klux Klan which used tactics such a lynchings to scare blacks of voting. Ida B. Wells was a black journalist who exposed lynchings in the U. S. Literacy test and poll taxes were also tactics used by white surprimisist to get blacks not to vote. Even with black codes and the KKK, this time period of Reconstruction was still a successful time for freedmen. They had three amendments passed in that addressed a few of the problems they faced. The blacks had come a long way from the end of the Civil War; they had gotten a lot of rights. Although they got many rights now they were at a large disadvantage to the whites. Blacks could not go to school because they had work or even were not allowed to go.
Because of this disadvantage blacks could not get the same jobs as whites because they did not have the same education. There were two main leader of the movement to get blacks better education and jobs, but the two of them had completely different views of how to get what they wanted. The first was Booker T. Washington, who believed that blacks should not push for what they wanted and that they should prove their selves to get the same education and jobs as whites, this is also called gradualism. African Americans disliked this because they thought that their equalization was being put off.
He believed that they should not rock the “Racial Boat”. The Second was W. E. B Dubois, who believed the exact opposite of Washington. He believed that the blacks could force the whites to give them what they wanted. He also believed that they should not what for the whites to give it to them he thought that blacks should push and force them to give it to them. Dubois also published the book of essays called The Souls of the Black Folks (1903). The blacks also ran out of labor in the South and choose to migrate to the North were there was an abundance of jobs.
This sudden movement of blacks from the South to the North started the Great Black Migration. This era after reconstruction was a very successful time for freedmen and brought about great change not only in the lives of African Americans but also in the lives of all Americans. After slaves were free the US tried to start the Back to Africa Movement. This movement was brought about to try to get freedmen with African decent to go back to Africa and their homeland. For blacks that did not want to return to Africa there were very few options for them if they choose to stay.
The first main problem was should they stay in the South or go somewhere else to find shelter and a job. The next problem was to find a job. To replace the slaves plantation owner implemented share cropping. Share cropping was a form of paid slavery that gave the families that choose to work on the plantation as share croppers a plot of land to farm and a place to live. The share croppers would give a large portion of what they had farmed to the owner of the land and they would get to keep a small amount of what they had harvested for themselves to live off of.
For those who had joined the Union army during the Civil War, they had to try to get what they were promised which was forty acres of land and a mule to plow it. Though promise was rarely met this was an option for some freedmen who choose to stay in the U. S. To help freedmen get what they needed such a job, food, or education the Freedmen’s Bureau was started. This bureau was started to help get recently freed slaves on their feet after the Civil War. Former slaves had a hard time finding jobs but they did it anyway.
During reconstruction the Southern Democrats wanted to get rid of the collation of Republicans that controlled the post war south. The Bourbon Democrats that want to oust this collation of freedmen, carpetbaggers, and scalawags were known as Redeemers. These Redeemers did not get their way until reconstruction ended in 1877. With the end of reconstruction man freedmen were scare by the rumor of the reinstitution of slavery and the fact that the leaders of the old south were back in control meant that discrimination would run rampant.
With this in mind they fled to the north and west most settling in Kansas. These freedmen who fled were known as exodusters. The Democratic Party regained the political power of the South. This total political power of the Democratic Party was known as the Solid South. During the time period of the Solid South, blacks were greatly discriminated upon. Freedmen who held office during reconstruction were stripped of their political position. To suppress blacks, white surprimisist implemented Jim Crow laws.
Jim Crow laws were a set of laws passed by state legislatures in witch in some cases pulled the African Americans Right to vote. The term Jim Crow comes from a show that was put on to show a stereotypical black. In this show whites would wear black and pain themselves and then act as they thought blacks were. They would act stupid and show the idea that blacks were not equal to whites. In most states a grandfather clause was put into the state constitution which stated that if your grandfather had voted before the civil war than you could vote even if you were illiterate.
This clause was meant to keep blacks who could not pass the literacy test from voting and allowed for the whites who failed the literacy test a way to vote. Under the Jim Crow laws the thought of “Separate but Equal”. This basically meant that as long as the state gave blacks the same conditions as whites it was ok to segregate them. The first major time the idea of “Separate but Equal” was challenged was in the case of Plessey vs. Fergusion (1896). In this case Homer Plessey was accused of sitting in the whites’ only car of the East Louisiana Railroad y and refused to leave.
Plessey was seven eighths white and one eighth black, an octoroon. Even though he was just on eighth African American he was still consider black by Louisiana law and thus required to sit in the colored car of the train. The courts stated that Louisiana could not regulate railroad that went between two or more states but that they could regulate railroads that were only within the state. Both the state and federal Supreme Courts ruled against Plessey. It was not until the ca of Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) the “Separate but Equal” would no longer be the law of the land.
During this time of Separate but Equal the type of segregation that took place was de jure segregation which meant to be segregated by law. This differs from today in that even though the law does not permit segregation in still happens by custom which is de facto segregation. W. E. B. Dubois organized a group that meet on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Because they meet at Niagara Falls they came to be known as the Niagara Movement (1903). They meet to discuses to problems facing blacks on a political and social level. They also discussed ways to fix the problems that faced the blacks.
This movement was made of only blacks. The Niagara Movement led to the creation of the NAACP, which was made up of both blacks and whites and also fought for the solutions to problems facing blacks and whites on a political and social level. The Niagara Movement was thought to be more radical than that of the NAACP. Booker T. Washington; the president of the Tuskegee Institute, the first all black collage; was the architect of the Atlanta Compromise which stated that blacks would work week in and week out and summit to white political rule in exchange for basic education and due process.
W. E. B Dubois used the term the Talented Tenth to show the 1 out of 10 blacks who will rise to be a leader of his or her race. He argued that blacks needed a more classical education rather than a vocational or industrial education. Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican political leader that founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association, African Community League, and the Black Star Steamship Line. The Black Star Steamship Line was shipping line that was supposed to facilitate the transportation of goods and eventually African Americans throughout the African global economy.
The Black Star Steamship Line derived its name from the white star line which was a key factor to the success of the back to Africa movement. Garvey thought he could simulate the success of the White Star Line. The Universal Negro Improvement Association founded the newspaper Negro World which had a front page editorial from Garvey and poetry and articles of international interest of people of African Ancestor. These men and there association were civil rights leaders that shaped the African American world.
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