Slavery in the United States: Racism in American Society
There were many things that were happening during the reconstruction but the one that stood out most was racism. Racism impacted America for a long time and has brought many changes in the people and how America works too. The African Americans and the white Americans have found a relationship between themselves to fight for politics, economics, and educational opportunities. Reconstruction gave the African Americans a chance to experience freedom but not equality among others.
First, there were many obstacles to fighting for African Americans’ rights with the help of white Americans. In the freedmen Bureau in early 1865, congress approved the thirteenth amendment to the constitution, which officially abolished slavery in the United States. The bureau liberated nearly four million slaves because of the passing of the thirteenth amendment. Oliver O. Howard, commissioner of the freedmen’s bureau declared that freed slaves “must be free to choose their own employers and be paid for their labor’’. He sent agents south to negotiate labor contracts between black and white landowners, many of whom resisted. The Bureau have done many things for the slaves with medical care and food and clothing and helped set up schools. Another that affected was the black codes because it was the violence of African Americans’ protests over restrictive laws passed by the new all-white southerner state legislatures in 1865 and 1866. The black codes were intended to make the slaves feel like they belong to whites many use the codes to restore white supremacy. The republicans were against the codes they thought a man was free by the constitution. Many African Americans were confused if they had slavery or freedom because it was almost the same thing, they could not do many things. The one that sealed the deal was the passing of the fourteenth amendment because it prohibited any efforts to violate the civil rights of the citizens even though they were black or white also congress gave the federal government responsible for protecting the rights of the Americans.
Meanwhile, the economy was not that good during the reconstruction. After the war in the south, their economy was strengthened by the war efforts. From 1860 through 1870, the northern wealth grew by half while the southern wealth dropped by 60 percent. There were many slaves that wanted their own land, so they could gain economic self-sufficiency. In some southern states, the slaves were given land by the union armies after they had taken control of confederate areas during the war. It was hard for many slaves when they already owned the land because many banks were unwilling to loan money to the African Americans and even some had to return to farms of white owners. But then a system came up that was called sharecropping that made things slightly better because there was a landowner that provided the land, seed, and tools to the poor farmers in return for a share of the crop. But then by sharecropping, the people became in debt with the owner of the land. The thing that happened the most was that many had a lot of debt so then most people started to work for free.
Last but not least, there were not too many educational opportunities for the African Americans because they did not have the same chances as the Whites. The African Americans became very religious in the south after the war. The black churches were the first social institutions the former slaves could control and quickly become the crossroads for the black community life. Many African American communities rushed to establish schools to help the African Americans. Most plantation owners had denied education to blacks in part because they feared that literate slaves would read abolitionist literature and organize uprisings. The higher white people were also scared that the poor whites and poor blacks would leave the south to have more opportunities. But many African Americans had a huge impact on their own lives because of the schools that brought them new opportunities in their education.
In conclusion, there were many events that the African Americans went through to become free people, but they could have not accomplished it without the help of the white Americans. Life was hard but these people are very strong that overcame very important obstacles that have helped many people up to this date to not be treated differently because of the color of their skin.
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