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A Step Of Equality And Freedom For African Americans

1889 words - 8 pages

RECONSTRUCTION:A Step of Equality and Freedom for African AmericansThe end of the Civil War left the South in great turmoil and chaos. With the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the blacks from the institute of slavery, the foundation of southern economy was being crippled. Also, the blacks themselves given freedom needed help adapting to this world of freedom, "For we colored people did not know how to be free"(African American Odyssey, Library of Congress). The government assisted in this process by establishing a period of reconstruction, which was an effort to restore the blacks to a political, social, and economical standard, which was owed to them by the amendments. Although reconstruction efforts were at times counter attacked by southerners who believed that "The only place for blacks are on cotton fields"( Ku Klux Klan Collection, Michigan state university) it still proved to be a good step in the right direction, in establishing back equality and freedom to those who were robbed of it.During the time before the Emancipation Proclamation African Americans were under slavery, and as slaves all of the rights of the constitution were out of their reach. However, when reconstruction was established congress ratified the fifteenth Amendment, which provided that voting "shall not be denied or abridge by the United States or any state on account of race color of previous condition of servitude" (Constitutional Convention, The Constitution of the U.S.). This was a phenomenal new freedom, because before this they were only allowed limited freedom and were not able to enjoy the same liberties as normal American citizens. Furthermore, now African Americans were able to involve themselves in the political process, not only as voters but also as governmental representatives at local, state and national levels. It allowed for the political advancement of African Americans, and gave them a higher place in America, then just cheap labor workers. However, there were a few set backs, a few southerners felt that blacks were inferior to whites and did not want them participating in the same political freedoms as whites. So the KKK would intimidate and abuse the African Americans from voting. Although this discrimination was difficult to bare, it still did not compare to the knowledge of this new freedom.One of the revolutionary social advancements during this time was the opportunity to learn. This was never before possible for blacks, because teaching slaves how to read was illegal, but now since education was attainable, many were hungry to be educated. The Freedmen Bureau was founded by the reconstruction efforts to establish schools and some black churches help create universities for African Americans. In fact by the turn of the "twentieth century the majority of African Americans could read and write"(African American Odyssey, Library of Congress) . With the ability to read and write African Americans where not trapped in ignorance any longer, this...

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