African American Life After Civil War

Subject: American History
Type: Expository Essay
Pages: 5
Word count: 1328
Topics: African American Culture, Civil War, Race


After the end of civil war in 1865 African-Americans started a new life. There was a change in relationship between the white Americans and Mulattos, in southern states there was introduction of Black Codes whose main intention was to regulate the way of life of African-Americans.

Immediately after the end of civil war, Mulattos were promised freedom and much more benefits, but it later downed to them that it was just a word of mouth to appease them, since they had to undergo hardship and struggles after 1865.

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Thesis Statement

The African responded to the segregation by setting up their own schools and the speech by Elliot in 1874 escalated the need for equality and after a series of consistent push to end racism, where at the end of the day there was a break through which made blacks to live a happy live and enjoy the privileges given by government like whites.

The Struggle of African Americans

Garrison Frazier who was the minister of Baptist church was chosen to be the spokesman of the black group and he was going to champion for the freedom of black man, when was asked to give the definition of freedom he said, “placing us where we could reap the fruit of our own labor and take care of ourselves” (Foner 555).

Sherman’s meeting with the black people gave them hopes that they were going to have the freedom which they had been yearning for, this is because that era was viewed as the reconstruction era in which the good relationship between the black Americans and the whites was going to be reclaimed, four days after the meeting, Sherman responded to the delegation by issuing a Special field order 15 which set aside sea islands to be given to the blacks to settle there.

After the end of the Civil War, African Americans thought that they were to enjoy more opportunities and freedom which they had been promised after the series of meetings with the White Americans leadership, but they underwent hardships and they had to struggle to overcome these challenges.

During the reconstruction era, there was a promise that all the African American were going to receive the same treatment in using public amenities like transport system, but this was turned out to be only in written papers, they were still segregated until 1874 when Elliot delivered the speech in Congress to support the civil rights act 1875.

After the slavery period, government in the south instituted Black Codes, these laws granted African Americans some rights like right to own properties, sue in court and marry but it still could not allow them to testify in court against whites or serve in state military, this still made blacks to seem to be inferior as compared to the whites.

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As a result of segregation which was still in place even after the end of Civil War, Washington delivered a speech whose aim was to enhance racial progression, he advocated that the blacks should remain in the south and urged the white corporations to enhance their economy. He believed that blacks would work to their best if given an opportunity and allowed to settle freely and they would live happily. Majority of the people who lived in the south were Negroes and it was unwise for anyone who wanted to develop the economy of the south to ignore their presence. He encouraged whites to see the number of African Americans as part of them and work together for the benefit of the nation, “cast down your bucket where you are. Cast it down among the eight million Negroes whose habit you know…” (Foner 59).

After the Civil War, African Americans still lived in poverty since they had been denied access to education and the rights to own properties like land. This made them struggle in their ways of life as they were to provide for the families, they had to seek to do manual work from the whites and in the industries, which had picked up in the Northern part.

Immediately after the Civil War, blacks seized lands from their former masters when they were slaves, but these lands were later taken away from them by the federal troops and given back to the whites. Republicans came up with the movement whose aim was to champion for the compensation of the former slaves, but this was received with objection and they didn’t succeed. Former slaves were left with small size of land which had been provided to them by the government as a way of settling them, these lands were very small and could not be cultivated to provide enough for the families, hence they had to go and work for the whites in their farms so as to earn living.

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Churches became the center point of the blacks after the slavery. This is where they could go and discuss the challenges they were undergoing among themselves and chat the way forward on how to overcome them, they had to advocate for education, and as a result of this the Freedmen’s Bureau an agency of government presided over the building of 3000 schools in south and hospitals. This gave the blacks an opportunity to acquire knowledge from school and learn different ways of salvaging themselves from poverty. Therefore, education was one way in which the blacks used to fight for their living.

Ku Klux Klan (KKK) supremacist terrorized blacks and people who lived in the south. This gave the blacks uneasy time living in the south from 1860 to 1871, US Congress passed a law which ensured that the leaders of the Klan group were arrested and imprisoned. This marked the end of the Klan’s terrorism.

According to the civil rights given to Mulatto, if he had been awarded a tender it had to be attested and read to mulatto by the county officer and if he resigns before the elapse of the agreed time, they had to forfeit wages to the time of expiry of the tender. Blacks had to persevere in doing everything which was covered in the contract even if he was not going to reap the best from the contract; this was to ensure that he was not going to lose what they had earned.

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Blacks were not to riot or minister the Gospel without the authority of the church. This would mean that for one to preach he had to get a license from church thus curtailing their freedom. Because of this, blacks to be committed to going to church since this was the only place they could get the Gospel.

Blacks were not allowed to be in possession of the firearm or bowie knife and if they were found having them they were answerable in the court of law and if any white could sell his or her firearm to the Mulatto they could stand to be judged in the court of law and fined or imprisoned. This meant that blacks were still being viewed to be of less race despite the end of the slavery era.

Blacks were required to sign labor contract annually which the whites were not signing. This meant that the authorities were not trusting blacks, and the signed labor could act as an evidence in court if the black failed to accomplish what he had signed. African Americans fought against this use of the court since they had been given that freedom to defend themselves in court when convicted with what they viewed was not right.

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In conclusion, after the Civil War, African Americans acquired some rights which paved the way to get more rights which they had not been granted immediately after the war. The Civil War served as an eye-opener to the white authorities and they realized that they were mistreating slaves and it was wrong, instead they started to see them as people who were potentially going to grow their economy.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Foner, Eric. “Voices of Freedom: a Documentary History (Vol. 2).” New York and London: WW Norton & Company (2011).
  2. Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History: Seagull Fourth Edition. Vol. 1. WW    Norton & Company, 2013.
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