Did The Rights Of African Americans Decline Between 1865 And 1900?

1091 words - 4 pages

The rights of African Americans between 1865 and 1900 is a subject of great discussion. It is hard to tell whether the rights of this minority group actually declined, or whether it simply stayed the same. On paper these rights improved through ways such as the 13th , 14th and 15th amendment, as well as the Reconstruction Act of 1867-8, but in the actual quality and treatment of coloured people it seems to decline. Although in theory African Americans were equal to white Americans, both were citizens of America and could vote, under the democratic values segregation occurred, proving to African Americans that they still were not accepted as equal.In 1865 it did seem to many African Americans that things were improving. The reconstruction of the south begins and the 13the amendment is passed, abolishing slavery. Still though they were seen both in the eyes of the law and that of white Americans to be second class citizens. In 1868 the 14th amendment was passed making blacks citizens of the US, and in 1870 the 15th amendment was passed, stating that the franchise should not be denied on the basis on race and if any state did so they would lose representation in congress. Also organisations such as the Freedman Bureau gave help to the freed slaves, as far as work etc. So in theory things were improving for African Americans. But in 1890 things started to digress. Southern states disqualified black voters, and the supreme court showed its height of favouritism in the Plessy v. Ferguson case. This approved the Jim Crowe segregation laws, resulting in lynchings to blacks in the south, making many migrate north. This along with several other cases, for example the slaughterhouse case of 1873, where the supreme court ruled that segregation is acceptable in businesses but not in state run organisation, allowed the rights of blacks to be suppressed, still cases were working them to stop their liberation.In the early 1900's the living conditions under which many African Americans were livingwas poor. There was racial segregation, the passing of Jim Crow laws, sharecropping, and lynchings. Africans were treated unequal and were highly discriminated against. African children were least likely to attend school, get high or well paying jobs, and raise a family out of poverty. There were few activists in this time period for the treatment of Africans, but two young men stepped forward. Du Bois and Washington, both from different backgrounds but both out to help the African race. Du Bois was born into a free family and makes certain demands to improve the living for his race, while Washington was born into a slave family and seeks economic improvement. I believe that Washington offers the best strategy for improving their treatment and the quality of their lives in the United States.Washington believed that African children should be educated. At the end of the Civil War the number of African children going to school tripled, and in 1905 the amount of children...

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