Social Changes During Reconstruction

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The Civil War and the period of Reconstruction brought significant political, social, and economic changes to American society, and these effects continued into the 20th century. Post Civil War - President Abraham Lincoln and Congress were focused on rebuilding the nation, the South, in particular. Changes made during Reconstruction greatly impacted the lives of many African Americans. African Americans (treatment – some efforts were made to achieve equality, however, many suffered continued discrimination) Political: Use Document 1 and Document 8 to support Background: The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified by Congress on the 31st of January 1865, abolished slavery in the United States. • Document 1: The 14th Amendment,…show more content…
Although slavery was abolished and African Americans were granted citizenship, they still suffered from racial inequality. Widespread racism continued to oppress African Americans. Document 6 – A Public Fountain in North Carolina 1950 by photographer, Steve Kasher (The Civil Rights Movement). Segregation in public facilities – This photograph by Elliot Erwitt epitomizes racial discrimination in the South during 1950. Erwitt captured a colored man drinking from a water fountain designed solely (reserved solely) for African Americans - segregated water fountains ➢ This was not uncommon in the South ➢ The interaction between races was minimized o Plessy vs. Ferguson Supreme Court Case supported segregation: • Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities under the doctrine of "separate but…show more content…
While they experienced freedom and were provided with newer opportunities, many did not have the means to support themselves and became economically dependent on the white plantation farmers. The Freedmen’s Bureau was a federal agency that was established to aid and protect the African Americans. However, as noted in Document 2, the Freedmen’s Bureau did little to help. Frederick Douglas describes how the emancipated slaves were treated, “The very manner of their [African Americans] emancipation invited to the heads of the freedman the bitterest hostility of race and class…They were sent away empty-handed, without money, without friends, and without foot of land to stand upon. Old and young, sick and well, were turned loose to the open sky, naked to their enemies.” Support Document 4: Left with no other option, many African Americans became tenant farmers on their former plantations. (System of sharecropping – cycle of debt – a type of slavery, they tried to escape fro many
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