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Up From Slavery The African-American Struggle for Equality in the Post-Civil War Era.

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Presentation on theme: "Up From Slavery The African-American Struggle for Equality in the Post-Civil War Era."— Presentation transcript:

1 Up From Slavery The African-American Struggle for Equality in the Post-Civil War Era

2 The Hard Reality of Emancipation After the Civil War ended and the 13 th Amendment abolished slavery (1865), freedmen found themselves without significant resources to start a new life The Freedmen’s Bureau (est. 1865) provided direct relief, education, jobs, and medical care in an effort to give freed slaves an opportunity to adjust to their new lives Despite such efforts, many blacks ended up as tenant farmers who engaged in sharecropping – which involved pledging a share of their harvest as repayment to landowners who leased the land; debt peonage often resulted as black farmers went into debt as a result of not being able to cover costs and debt owed to creditors

3 The Failure of Radical Reconstruction The Radical Republican attempt to re-engineer Southern society and politics (1865-77) failed due to: 1.terrorism - as practiced by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups; violence and intimidation kept reformers from carrying out Radical policies 2.redemption – Southern Democrats regained control of their state governments as a result of the Compromise of 1877, which (after the disputed election of 1876) gave Republican candidate Hayes the White House in exchange for a Republican pledge to withdraw the last federal troops from the South and end Reconstruction 3.“Jim Crow” laws created institutionalized segregation through such measures as poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses – effectively disenfranchised blacks despite rights provided in the 14 th and 15 th Amendments

4 Thomas Nast’s View of the Post- War South

5 The Supreme Court Limits Rights Ex parte Milligan (1866) – the Court ruled that military courts could not try civilians where civil courts were functioning – limited ability of the federal government to prosecute Southern whites who violated the law Slaughterhouse cases (1873) – the Court created the concept of “dual citizenship” – the idea that the 14 th Amendment only guaranteed national civil rights, not state civil rights; effectively limited the scope of 14 th Amendment due process protections Civil Rights cases (1883) – the Court further weakened the 14 th Amendment by declaring that it protected only against government infringement of rights, not private infringement (i.e., private businesses could still discriminate against blacks) Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) – ruled segregation legal as long as facilities were “separate but equal” – not overturned until Brown v. Board of Education in 1954

6 Two Views of Progress Booker T. Washington, a former slave and the founder of Tuskegee Institute, argued that blacks would only gain acceptance by white society through education and hard work; patterned after his own life experience Equality must first come on socio-economic terms and political equality would follow; a popular approach with white Americans W.E.B. DuBois, a northern intellectual, argued that blacks must achieve political equality first before socio- economic equality would be fully achieved His approach was widely adopted by civil rights leaders in the 1950s/1960s DuBois helped to lead the Niagara movement and founded the NAACP

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