Issue of Race from Reconstruction to 1920s

Issueof Race from Reconstruction to 1920s

Reconstructioninvolves the period when the U.S. was bringing the economy back onits feet after the civil war. At this particular time, the blackswere given some freedom by the government, and this meant that theycould engage in businesses and pay taxes to the administration, aswell as fight for their rights. Furthermore, this is the era in whichsome insurgent groups such as the Ku Klux Klan came to existence. Itis important to note that the race issue interfered withreconstruction era as it resulted in the restoration of the Americansociety and economy to take a longer period than it was expected. Theleaders of the Southern side of the country were not happy with thelaw that gave African-Americans the right to hold office and vote.They fought to bring back the old methods, which gave the whitessuperiority over the black community. In this essay, the events thattook place after the civil war all the way to the 1920s will beresearched, discussed, and broadened.

Tobegin with, former slaves who were of the African-American heritagewere considered to have been the main pioneers of reconstructionbecause they wanted a new way of life that did not undermine theirskin color in any way (Lynch and Molefi 24). The North won the civilwar and realized that activities such as wars in most cases bringabout more problems instead of stability. Therefore, new laws wereimplemented to see if curbing racism would bring positive changeamong people of different races. Historical scholars of the moderncentury view reconstruction as the time in which the African-Americancommunities were first given privileges and a chance to be elected inthe government. The Southern leaders, however, implemented the Blackcode law in 1965 which denied the African-Americans the right tovote. Also, the whites were not comfortable with the fact that theblacks were to participate in the reconstruction debates. This wassuch a blow to the black leaders who thought otherwise and lookedforward for a change.

TheSupreme Court ruled for Dred Scott in 1857 who claimed that theAfrican communities should be taken in as immigrants and that theywould never be given a chance to be American citizens (Lynch andMolefi 24). This made a lot of blacks who were slaves during thatperiod to go into Unions during the civil wars to demonstrate andcampaign against racial discrimination in the country. This move bythe African slaves made the union stronger, and the governmentstarted considering their cries and hence the era of reconstructionwas born. Many individuals did not know the main purpose ofreconstruction and many questions were raised (Davidson et al., 338).The biggest and the most popular issues that were being asked werewho an American was and if some rights were for specific individuals.Likewise, people wanted to know what form of labor would replaceslavery since the blacks were the ones that worked on the farms.

Duringreconstruction between 1865 and 1977, the Northerners did not supportthe views of the white Southside leaders who had full authority overthe blacks (Davidson et al., 354). At that time, the blackSoutherners held sessions in a church and the group was known as theColored Men’s Convention which their main purpose was to bring theAfrican communities together to fight for their rights. Even thoughthe black leaders were ignorant and did not even know the roles ofthe constitution and government, they still knew that the whiteSoutherners were unjust in their ways and they wanted change (Willis83). The Northerners were aware of this and tried their level best toform allies in the South to help support the blacks. In 1867, thefederal constitution implemented the Military Reconstruction Actwhich divided the South into different districts ruled under themilitary. The white Southerners had to live and share equal rights asthe black Southerners, and in addition to this, it offeredcitizenship to all slaves.

Anotherperiod of transition that took place during reconstruction was in1878 where the railways helped in improving the economy of the South.The railroads were built after the civil wars in 1869, and thistranscontinental rail line opened the market for the people living inthe region. This, in turn, made the country more financially stableand people’s standards of living improved with time (Davidson etal., 343). The foreign policy of the country at that period changedin a short period due to various changes that followed in thereconstruction period. The U.S. was dealing with many foreignnations, particularly those from Europe, and the country could notafford to be viewed as partisan regarding the race issue. VariousRepublican leaders talked to the president about some of the waysthat could help bring the country back to its excellent state. Ideassuch as the implementation of free trade in the region andinvolvement of all citizens in the program were of great benefit toboth the whites and blacks. To add to this, the activities reducedracial discrimination as the twentieth century drew near.

Inconclusion, the reconstruction era was the period in which theAfrican-American communities stopped working as slaves in the whiteman’s farms. Even though racial discrimination was still practiced,its intensity was low. Moreover, the era spurred growth in thecountry and promoted the need for equal rights for all Americansirrespective of their race or ethnicity.


Davidson,James W, Brian DeLay, Christine L. Heyrman, Mark H. Lytle, andMichael B. Stoff. Us:A Narrative History., 2009. Print.

Lynch,Matthew, and Molefi K. Asante. BeforeObama: A Reappraisal of Black Reconstruction Era Politicians.Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger, 2012. Print.

Willis,Lee. SouthernProhibition: Race, Reform, and Public Life in Middle Florida,1821-1920., 2011. Print.