Reconstruction and African Americans from 1865-1900 From 1865 to 1900, Reconstruction was meant to help change the lives of African Americas. However, because of prejudice, Reconstruction didn’t go on as far as it could have. Reconstruction tried to deliver its promises to African Americans while battling a discriminatory white America. This is seen socially, through civil rights, and politically, through Jim Crow Laws and voting. Concerning social promises, Reconstruction made astounding changes for African Americans; this is evident in newspapers and the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
White Americans were becoming more sympathetic to the needs of African Americans, or at least white reporters were. Newspapers began to print stories and pictures made to draw sympathy to the black man and anger towards the KKK, such as in Harper’s Weekly’s “One Less Vote” (Doc A, F). The Civil Rights Act of 1875 allowed each citizen equality, no more segregation in hotels, restaurants, public theaters, etc. , but it wasn’t followed by everyone. Business owners were not willing to de-segregate, and the ones who were willing lost white business.
White men and women remained biased, making it impossible for African Americans to have equality. White bias didn’t stop the American government from taking political action to protect African Americans. The 14th and 15th Amendments attempted to stop discrimination; the 14th Amendment gave protection of privileges for blacks and the 15th Amendment gave them the right to vote. Because of reforms, African Americans were legally allowed to vote. This brought celebration in African American communities, now they could have political influence. However, mainly in the South, blacks were threatened and even killed for going to vote.
Opposing government reforms, such as the Amendments, was the Deep South. The Jim Crow Laws were passed; by segregation, prohibiting people to even talk about equality, and inter-racial marriage, equality was outlawed. Socially there was more acceptance. Politically there was more freedom. Reconstruction did alleviate many of the African Americans’ burdens. Overall, Reconstruction during 1865 to 1900 could have gone much farther. If it were not for the hostility expressed towards the equality of the races, Reconstruction could have quickly given the blacks their freedoms.
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