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African American Activism (415) With the passage of the Reconstruction Acts by Congress, African Americans saw a new era beginning. The rise of Congressional.

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Presentation on theme: "African American Activism (415) With the passage of the Reconstruction Acts by Congress, African Americans saw a new era beginning. The rise of Congressional."— Presentation transcript:


2 African American Activism (415) With the passage of the Reconstruction Acts by Congress, African Americans saw a new era beginning. The rise of Congressional Reconstruction (14 th Amendment, 13 th Amendment, 15 th Amendment, and the Civil Rights and Reconstruction Acts) gave former slaves further hope for equal citizenship with whites. Many registered to vote and began lobbying for the equality promised by the Civil Rights Act and the 14 th Amendment

3 African American Activism (415) –African Americans joined political groups such as the Union League. –The Union League: spread the view of the Republican Party to freed slaves as well as to poor whites. –The Union League also built schools and churches for African Americans. –African American education and literacy expanded greatly during Reconstruction –White northerners founded many schools, but African Americans launched educational institutions as well

4 African American Activism (415) –African Americans became more involved in politics, they served as delegates to all state constitutional conventions: when states were writing their constitutions –In Louisiana and South Carolina, African American delegates outnumbered the whites –African Americans were the largest group of southern Republican voters. –During Reconstruction, more than 600 African Americans were elected as representative of state legislatures –Sixteen African Americans were elected to Congress. –African American Hiram Revels of Mississippi was elected to the U.S. Senate to replace Jefferson Davis –Other African Americans held state and local offices

5 Reconstruction Governments: (416) –Carpetbaggers: Northern Republicans – both whites and African Americans – eager to participate in state conventions increased resentment among many white southerners –The newcomers, they joked, were “needy adventurers” of “the lowest class” who would carry everything they owned in a carpetbag – a type of cheap suitcase –Scalawags (scoundrels) were southern whites who had backed the Union cause and now supported Reconstruction – the former Confederates did not like the carpetbaggers or the scalawags

6 Reconstruction Governments: (416) –Reconstruction supporters soon formed a Republican alliance – they saw themselves as the “party of progress, and civilization.” –The Republican alliance hoped to seize economic and political power from the planters and then rebuild the South, improving conditions of poor white farmers and African Americans alike. –The Republican alliance used its political leverage to draft new state constitutions The Republican state governments abolished property qualifications for jurors and political candidates. They also guaranteed white and African American men the right to vote

7 The Klu Klux Klan: (416-417) –The Reconstruction governments’ reforms, the election of African Americans to office, and African Americans’ growing political participation were soon met by a vicious response –Angry whites formed secret terrorist groups to prevent African Americans from voting – The Klu Klux Klan –The Klu Klux Klan was founded in 1866 by six former Confederates

8 The Klu Klux Klan: (416-417) –Klan Attacks: (416-417) The head of the Klan – “Grand Wizard” Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former slave- trader and Confederate general – bluntly warned Republicans that he intended “to kill the radicals.” The Klan and similar groups were determined to destroy the Republican Party, to keep African Americans from voting, and to frighten African American political leaders into submission The Klan murdered or attacked many Republican legislatures both white and black Klan members also attacked African Americans who voted for Republican candidates Klansmen also assaulted and killed thousands of African Americans whom they regarded as too successful Klansmen burned homes, schools, and churches, and stole livestock in a n effort to chase African Americans and pro- Reconstruction whites from the South

9 The Klu Klux Klan: (416-417) –Steps against the Klan: (417) African Americans struck back at the Klan when possible. –They burned barns of Klansmen –As the violence mounted, African Americans demanded that Congress act to “enable us to exercise the rights of citizens.” –Congress responded to this call in 1870 and 1871 by passing legislation to stop violence against African Americans –Congress passed the Enforcement Acts: these three laws empowered the federal government to combat terrorism with military force and to prosecute guilty individuals –The Democrats called them the Force Acts and claimed they threatened individual freedom

10 Changes in Reconstruction: (417-419) –Shifting Republican Interests: (417) A particularly severe economic depression, known as the Panic of 1873, hit the nation Republican leaders came under pressure as workers threatened strikes and farmers demanded relief Republicans called for the abandonment of universal voting rights so thousands of immigrants joined the Democratic party The Republicans call to restrict the voting rights of immigrants, and the urban poor, weakened public support for African Americans’ rights as well

11 Changes in Reconstruction: (417-419) The Southern Redeemers: (418-419) –The discontent caused by the Panic of 1873 turned voters against the Republican-controlled Congress. –When Congress came back together, Republicans made one final effort to enforce Reconstruction by enacting the Civil Rights Act of 1875 : This Act prohibited businesses that served the public – such as hotels and transportation facilities- from discriminating against African Americans

12 Changes in Reconstruction: (417-419) The Southern Redeemers: (418-419) –The Compromise of 1877: this deal solved the problem between leading Republicans and southern Democrats. –The Compromise of 1877 Said: in return for the Democrats’ acceptance of Rutherford B. Hayes (republican) as president, the Republicans agreed to withdraw the remaining federal troops from the South –Redeemers: the individuals behind the Democrats return to power. They wrote state constitutions and overturned many of the Reconstruction governments’ reforms


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