The Meaning of Freedom The Promise of Reconstruction, 1865-1868

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  • The Meaning of FreedomThe Promise of Reconstruction, 1865-1868

  • The Ending of the Civil War 1861-1865April 9, 1865Lee surrenders

    One week later:Lincoln is assassinated;

    Johnson becomes President (Senator from TN-a southerner that did not agree with succession)

  • Congress and the President Reconstruction PlanSouth was divided into five military districts

    Each was governed by a U.S. Army general w/troops

    Before any southern state could be readmitted, they had to accept the 13th Amendment & write a new constitution

    Congress established the Freedmens BureauProvided food & clothing to newly freed blacksHelped in searches for jobs & homesBuilt schools & provided teachers

    Strong for advocates for the Civil War Amendments (Radical Republicans)

  • The Five Military Districts

  • Reconstruction Amendments

    13th forbids slavery (1865)

    14th defines U.S. citizenship (1868)

    15th- cannot deny suffrage based on race, color or previous condition of servitude (1870)

  • Reconstruction GovernmentFormer Confederate states held conventions to draw up new constitutions:a. Blacks attended all of the conventionsb. New constitutions abolished property qualifications for voting & granted the right to vote to adult malesAfrican American men flocked to the pollsa. State Offices represented 80% of Republican voters

    Elected Republican legislatures that included black members

  • Goals of FreedmenLand

    The Black Church



  • Land Special Field Order #15: 30 acre of land along the Atlantic coast from Charleston, SC to Jacksonville, FL

    The Port Royal Experiment: land given to freedmen in SC

    Freedmens Bureau: General Oliver O. Howard promised 40 acres and a mule to newly freedmen

  • The Black ChurchAfter emancipation, blacks built their own houses of worshipChurches housed schools, social gatherings & political meetingsMinisters were well-respected; many of the black men who elected to political office were ministers

  • EducationFreedom and Education were InseparableTo remain illiterate after emancipation was to remain enslaved. Ex-slave master: Charles you is a free man they say, but AH tells you now, you is still a slave and if you lives to a hundred, youll STILL be a slave, cause you got no education, and education is what makes a man free!!!

    Free blacks raised money to buy land, build schools & pay teachers

    By 1867, Freedmens Bureau had set up almost 4,500 schoolsTuition represented 10% or more of their monthly incomeSchools were full; by 1870, 250,000 students were enrolled

  • EducationNorthern missionaries open schools in the South -- and freed slaves rejoice in the opportunity to be educated.

    The South's new, racially integrated legislatures create the region's first public schools -- for blacks and for whites.

  • Education: Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)Consisted of Elementary and Secondary educationFisk University, TNHampton University, VATougaloo, AlabamaAvery, SCLincoln, MissouriVirginia Union, VAShaw University, NCBenedict, SCMorehouse, GAClafin, SCRust, MississippiBennett, NCSt. Augustine, NCSt. Paul, VA

  • FamilyYears and decades advertisement appeared in black newspapers for lost family membersSome walked 600 miles looking for their spousesBen and Betty Dodson found each other after 20 years of separationDis is my Betty, shuah. I foun you at las. Is hunted and hunted till I track you up here. I boun to hunt till I fin you if yous aliveHusbands and wives sometimes learned that their spouses had remarried during the separation.

  • FamilyBelieving that his wife was died, the husband of Laura Spicer remarriedonly to learn after the war that Laura was still alive.

    He wrote to her but refused to see her.I would come and see you but I know I could not bear it. I want to see you and I did the last day I saw you, and it will not do for you and I to meet.

    Tormented he wrote again: Laura I do not thing that I have change any at all since I saw you lastI thinks of you and my children everyday of my life. Laura I do love you the same. My love to you never have failed. Laura, truly, I have got another wife, and I am very sorry that I am. You feels and seems to me as much like my dear loving wife, as you ever did Laura.

  • Black PoliticiansAfrican Americans did not dominate any state government but:

    More than 600 served in Southern state legislatures

    Pinchback was governor of LA for 43 days

    Reconstruction governments expanded services for newly freed blacks & poor whites (i.e. public schools, hospitals,mental health institutions, etc.)

    Federal Government- from 1869 to 1876, 20 blacks were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives & 2 served in the Senate (Hiram Revels & Blanche K. Bruce)

  • The First Colored Senator and Representatives

  • Black Codes/SharecroppingEnsure the availability of a subservient agricultural labor supply controlled by white people.Earning a living in the South proved difficulta. Few former slaves could afford to buy landb. Many states had laws that prohibited blacks from owning landc. Sharecropping developed:Farmed a small plot of land belonging to another in return for a share of the cropMany families bought supplies & groceries on creditAt the time of the harvest, the growing debt was subtracted from the sale of the cropFamilies had to turn to credit again Becomes a cycle of poverty & debt

  • Black CodesRestrictions on freedmenSign annual labor contracts with white landownersCharged African Americans for owning businessesCould not vote or serve on juriesChildren from the ages of 2 21 to be apprenticed to white people Corporal punishments was legalEmployers were designated masters and employees servants

  • The Radical RepublicansCharles SumnerBenjamin WadeHenry WilsonThaddeus StevensGeorge W. JulianJames M. AshleyFought for the abolition of slaveryReluctant to compromiseHonest, tough, and articulate, abrasive, difficult, self-righteous, and vain.Black people appreciated themMany white people excoriated them.

  • Charles SumnerBlack veteran Your name shall live in our hearts forever

  • Attack on Charles SumnerCharles Sumner was a Harvard man, Saw slavery as a sin, an evil. In the midst of the Kansas controversy, Sumner denounced Douglas and the SC Senator Andrew Butlerin very personal terms, calling him a john for the harlot slavery, an imbecile and a blunderer. Butlers nephew Preston Brooks, a congressman from SC went to avenge the insult. He caught Sumner seated at his senate desk and beat him mercilessly with a cane.

  • The Reaction of White SouthernersViolenceOutrageDenialAnger