(Freeman, 2007). None of the programs was responsible, and freed slaves, especially in rural areas, were left with no property and few prospects following emancipation.
Unfortunately, slaves who did not choose to leave their plantations helped establish the precedence of sharecropping, which led to the virtual re-enslavement of a new generation of African-Americans after Reconstruction. Under the practice of sharecropping, a farmer works on someone else's land, and promises to pay the landowner with a percentage of the crop. The problem with sharecropping is that the tenant farmer often has to buy supplies from the landowner and pay all types of fees. The end result was that many tenant farmers became more indebted to the landowners with every passing year:
As Republicans in the South were driven from office or killed by terrorists, sharecroppers were left without protection and were frequently cheated by white landowners. Laws forced debtors to work the land until debts were paid, and landowners often manipulated credit to insure that sharecroppers ended each year in debt. Those who questioned the landowner's accounting might be arrested for bad debt. Those convicted were often leased out to work on the same plantation, but without wages. Landowners in need of laborers might have local police invoke vagrancy laws against blacks who refused low-paying jobs. (MSN Encarta, 2007).
These practices were expanded and exacerbated under Jim Crow, and, in reality, continue to exist in some of the more isolated and rural parts of the American south.
Politically, Reconstruction gave African-Americans the opportunity to meaningfully participate in self-governance. Because the former Confederate states were federally occupied, former slaves were able to exercise the right to vote. Not only did this mean that former slaves had an impact on who was governing them, but also that African-Americans could attain office. Some of these changes were meaningful, while others were largely symbolic.
For example, "in states with the largest black populations, African-Americans and their white Republican allies established and improved public education for white and black students, ended property qualifications for voting, abolished imprisonment for debt, and integrated public facilities." (MSN Encarta, 2007). However, when John W. Menard became the first African-American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1868, the change was largely symbolic because Congress refused to seat Menard. (MSN Encarta, 2007). However, Congress eventually had to recognize African-American representatives: "in all, 20 blacks from Southern states served in the U.S. House of Representatives and 2 in the U.S. Senate during Reconstruction." (MSN Encarta, 2007). Local and state level officials met with more success;...
It was during Reconstruction that the Ku Klux Klan and other terrorist groups began attacking American citizens, trying to prevent blacks from exercising political or social power:
Hundreds of blacks were killed for attempting to vote, for challenging segregation, for organizing workers, or even for attending school. In 1871 President Ulysses S. Grant declared martial law in nine South Carolina counties because of the proliferation of lynchings and beatings. In 1873 white terrorists massacred more than 60 blacks on Easter Sunday in Colfax, Louisiana, and killed 60 Republicans, both blacks and whites, during the summer of 1874 in nearby Coushatta. They killed 75 Republicans in Vicksburg, Mississippi in December 1874. (MSN Encarta, 2007)
Furthermore, this terrorism did not end with Reconstruction. On the contrary, the same tactics were used to keep blacks in a subservient position under Jim Crow. More notably, racial terrorism escalated during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, when African-Americans again sought to exercise their political and social freedoms.
Obviously, Reconstruction has significance for African-Americans. It was during Reconstruction that Congress based the laws that guarantee equality for modern African-Americans. Furthermore, it was during Reconstruction that African-Americans got their first taste of political and civil freedoms. While the post-Reconstruction backlash in the South was tremendous, northern blacks built upon those freedoms, and southern blacks used the tools they had available, such as religion, to do their best to maintain the gains made under Reconstruction. The result was that by the time of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, there were sufficient numbers of educated, organized, and determined African-Americans to force the social changes that Reconstruction promised.
Freeman, Gerene. (2007). What about My 40 Acres & a Mule? Retrieved October 29, 2007 from Yale New Haven Teachers Institute.
Web Site: http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1994/4/94.04.01.x.html
Library of Congress. (2002). Reconstruction and Its Aftermath: Part One. Retrieved October
29, 2007 from African-American Odyssey.
Web Site: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart5.html.
Library of Congress. (2002). Reconstruction and Its Aftermath: Part Two. Retrieved October 29, 2007 from African-American Odyssey.
Web Site: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart5b.html.
MSN Encarta. (2007). African-American History. Retrieved October 30, 2007 from MSN
Web Site: http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761595158_1/African_American_History.html
Q&a: The Myths of Reconstruction. Retrieved October 30, 2007 from PBS.
Web Site: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/plantation/sf_myths.html#a
However, the U.S. Congress extended the lending power and expanded the functions of the Corporation through including the powers to buy capital stocks of financial institutions, agricultural credit corporations, insurance firms, and national mortgage associations. Consequently, the Congress gave RFC the power to make loans to business enterprises, public school authorities, mining interests, agricultural improvement districts, and disaster victims. In addition, the corporation was also given the authority to
One of the policies that black leaders fought for was the granting of land to blacks following the Civil War. Freedman saw "land represented as their chance to farm for themselves, to have an independent life. It represented compensation for generation of travail and bondage" (438). Although this demand has strong logical backing in that once freed, black farmers should have equal legal status as white, the reality of
Improvement: An effective logistics strategy is crucial for an organization that operates in the business of providing a range of products and services. The logistics strategy is important for such organizations because of its role in the company's health in relation to maintaining service levels at the highest levels at all times. The strategy is also vital for bigger companies with complex organizational and operational structures in order to ensure
Plastic Surgery in America When people hear the term "plastic surgery," they almost immediately think of the negative connotations of that phrase. While it is certainly true that many Americans have had elective plastic surgery, there are far more types of medical procedures that fall under this category than the stereotypical nose jobs or breast enhancements. There are pros and cons to the debate about plastic surgery and its importance in
Second Reconstructions One of the most dramatic consequences of the Civil War and Reconstruction was that the South was effectively driven from national power for roughly six decades. Southerners no longer claimed the presidency, wielded much power on the Supreme Court, or made their influence strongly felt in Congress But beginning in the 1930s, the South was able to flex more and more political muscle, and by the 1970s some
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development: The first challenge is related to pricing. Pricing reflected market yields and referred to the "benchmark" rate. The market yields were compounded through the national Treasury yields, but there was no such Treasury yield for the ECU, since this was not an actual currency for the EU. Issues such as lack of liquidity for the European market and others meant that the European Bank would