2 Resistance and Repression After Reconstruction many African Americans in the rural South lived in conditions that were little better than slavery.They were “free” but most lived in total poverty. Many were sharecroppers, landless farmers who had to hand over to the landlord a large portion of their crops to cover the cost of basic supplies. They stayed in constant debt.
3 Disfranchising African Americans The 15th Amendment had prohibited banning someone from voting because of race-but not for being illiterate or not owning land. Southern states used these loopholes to prevent African Americans from voting.Mississippi for example used a $2 poll tax and a literacy test to prevent African Americans from voting. Most did not have this amount of money and almost all former slaves were illiterate or after slavery were not provided any chance for an education. Those that could read were given extremely difficult passages that most educated people couldn’t understand.
4 Examples of effects in other states Louisiana’s registered voters fell from 130,00 in 1890 to 5,300 in 1900Alabama’s fell from 181,000 to 3,700Poor whites that could not meet these qualifications were given an exception called a grandfather clause-if one of your ancestors had voted in 1867 you were given the right-this eliminated almost all African American voters
5 Legalizing Segregation Segregation also existed in the North, however the difference in the South was that it was enforced by law (de facto vs. de jure). The statutes enforcing segregation were call Jim Crow laws.In 1883 the Supreme Court set the stage for legalized segregation by overturning the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
6 That law had prohibited keeping people out of public places on the basis of race and prohibited discrimination in selecting jurors.The 1883 decision said that he 14th Amendment only provided that “no state” could deny citizens equal protection under the law. Private organizations and businesses-hotels, railroads, theaters and others were free to practice segregation.
7 Encouraged by this decision southern states passed a series of laws to segregate every aspect of public life: railroad cars, dining halls, water fountains, restrooms, hotels and swimming pools.In 1892 an African American named Homer Plessy challenged a Louisiana law that forced him to ride in a separate railroad car. Criminal court judge John Ferguson rejected Plessy’s argument that the law was unconstitutional. In 1896 the Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson, upheld the Louisiana law and expressed anew legal doctrine.“SEPARATE BUT EQUAL”?This ruling established the legal basis for discrimination for the next 50 years. Public facilities were always separate, but they were far from equal.
8 Racial ViolenceEven worse than Jim Crow laws was the brutality leveled against African Americans. Mob violence increased drastically during this time.Between 1890 and 1899, there was an average of 187 lynching's-executions without a court trial-carried out by mobs each year. 80 percent of these were in the South.
10 The African American Response In 1892 a fiery young African American woman from Tennessee name Ida B. Wells, launched a fearless crusade against lynching.She pointed out that greed, not just racial prejudice, was often behind these brutal acts. She reported in the Memphis Free Speech paper that 3 African American grocers had been lynched for simply competing successfully against white grocers.
11 A mob destroyed the papers printing press and drove her out of town A mob destroyed the papers printing press and drove her out of town. She relocated to Chicago and continued her campaign.She demanded a fair trial for those accused of a crime and fair punishment for those found guilty.Congress rejected an anti-lynching law, but lynching's decreased drastically in the 1900’s, mostly due the efforts of individuals like Wells.
12 A Call for CompromiseWhile some protested the unfair treatment of society, others chose to advocate different approaches.One such person was the influential educator Booker T. Washington. He suggested that African Americans focus on economic goals instead of legal or political ones.He gave a famous speech in front of mostly white audience-this speech called the Atlanta Compromise-encouraged African Americans to delay the fight for civil rights and to instead focus on educational and vocational equality.
13 Voice of the FutureThis compromise provoked a strong challenge from W.E.B. Du Bois, the leader of a new generation of African American activists born after the Civil War. In his book The Souls of Black Folk, he stated that white southerners had continued to strip African Americans of their civil rights.He said this was true despite economic and vocational advancement. He said it was necessary to demand your rights be given.He was very concerned with voting rights and believed that voting was part of proper manhood and that denying these rights was barbaric.In the years that followed many African Americans continued to fight for an end to discrimination and for equal rights. This would prove to be a very long fight.
14 Exodus to Kansas70 year old Benjamin Singleton took action to escape the conditions of the rural South. He organized a mass migration of thousands of African Americans from the rural South to Kansas.Newspapers called it an exodus and the migrants became known as “Exodusters”.These people hoped to escape control by the very people that once held them as slaves
15 Those that did not leave the south joined farmers alliance with poor white farmers. However eventually many realized the need for a separate alliance and created The Colored Farmers’ National Alliance.Many African Americans joined the Populist Party because they believed it would unite the poor white and black people of the nation.
16 Crushing the Populist Revolt The Populist Party was weakened by the Democratic Party using racism to persuade members to leave the party.The Democrats feared that a unified black and white voting population would create a situation like Reconstruction when anti-Southern Republicans dominated politics.They began to utilize the methods previously mentioned to prevent African Americans from voting.