Leeanna Keith: The Failure Of Reconstruction

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Module 9 Discussion Assignment Yes LeeAnna Keith believes the failure of Reconstruction was due to racism. Angry whites, seething over blacks finally gaining similar rights and some political power, worked to undermine the efforts of Reconstruction. Keith describes the assault of the Grant Parish courthouse in Colfax, Louisiana in 1873. According to Keith, the event that took place at the courthouse was a microcosm of the general intolerance and unacceptance of post-slavery black progress by racist whites (403). The Colfax courthouse was held by a group of black men who feared its takeover by whites would hamper their political will. After a brief meeting between the white and black representatives, it was determined that a fight between the blacks entrenched in the courthouse and the whites…show more content…
This movement opposed the notion of making government larger and handing over rights to blacks that were supposedly hard earned by other citizens (403). Richardson argues that while the government was obliged to provide blacks political equality, “social” equality needed to be earned; social equality was considered the standing an individual achieved through merit and hard work. Although blacks accepted this, those that had prospered to the “better classes” still found that discrimination was still wanton. To battle these discriminations, blacks called for protective legislation (418). This legislation came in the way of the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The act, while keeping schools, churches, and cemeteries segregated, gave blacks access to many of the same faculties previously only enjoyed by whites (421). However the bill was declared unconstitutional in 1883 and both Democrats and most Republicans were at peace with the decision; they cited the old rhetoric of social equality and a free labor society didn’t need civil rights protections
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