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7 Things Every Black Person Should Know About the Reconstruction Era

By Staff Blogger

Most of us have heard about the Reconstruction Era, but quite a few people know very little about it.  So, one of our bloggers put together a quick primer to make sure that you and your child know the basics of this period, which took place right after the Civil War.

The goal of Reconstruction was to bring the country back together after a violent war had just torn the country apart.  But many people consider it to be a failure, since it left the south devastated, and whites also regained their superiority over blacks.  But here are seven things that you and your children should know about Reconstruction:

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  1. The reconstruction era lasted for 12 years, 2 months and 30 days.  It ended with the Compromise of 1877.
  2. The protection of African Americans in the South was guaranteed by the Force Acts, passed during the President Ulysses S. Grant Administration. The Force Acts, which was passed by Congress, worked to support the Radical Reconstruction which believed that blacks were entitled to the same opportunities and political rights as whites.
  3. The reconstruction era was designed to address how the eleven states would rejoin the nation and be reseated within Congress. It also represented what the civil status of former Confederate leaders would be, the legal/Constitutional status of freedmen, and especially the right to vote.
  4. About 150 blacks were killed across South Carolina in the weeks before the 1876 election.  The Reconstruction Era is also connected in the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.
  5. Northern missionaries established many private colleges and academies for freedmen (African Americans) which helped educate African-American children.
  6. With the election of President Grant in 1869, Reconstruction began by admitting Virginia, Mississippi and Texas back into the union. These states would only be readmitted if the constituents protected all citizens’ right to vote.  But most southern states did not.
  7. President Grant signed the Civil Rights Act of 1875. This act worked to ensure that anyone would be allowed access to public facilities despite the color of their skin.  But the Jim Crow era led to the creation of Whites Only bathrooms all throughout the South.

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52 thoughts on “7 Things Every Black Person Should Know About the Reconstruction Era

  1. Floyd

    So what happened to the 1875 civil rights law passed by President Grant? Especially if it guaranteed the right to vote by every citizen. Is this law still on the books or did the 1965 civil rights law superseded it?
    It appears that some laws are not worth the paper its printed on if the country
    leaders do not execute it.
    It also appears that the racist find ways to circumvent certain laws for their benefits, again especially if our law enforcement officials turn a blind eye.
    It appears its happening again today……….things really appear to have not change since reconstruction.

    Reply
    • vernon sukumu

      Oh something have change you now a black man sitting on the supreme court, who voted with the right wing racist conservative to gut the voting rights act.

      Reply
    • Charles

      You are right Floyd,it has gone down hill from there .however there are clauses that state we can revisit the constitution in its entirety to update its content, which sounds like a very good idea to me considering the patriot act ,ndaa etc.

      Reply
    • Arthur Robinson

      The Civil Rights Act(s) since reconstruction were just that Civil Right Act(s), they were not Human Rights Act(s). Many African American were lobbying to start their own territories during these times, rather then integrating or repatriating to Africa. Marcus Garvey wasn’t the first. Only the 1954 and 1963 African Americans thought that they could live peacefully and equally with the Caucasian Race. There were others prior to this period, but their illusions were quickly evaporated with the images of hanging Negros from the pustular trees, or the distinct odor of Black Burning Flesh, bulging eyes and twisted mouths.

      Reply
    • Susan

      It was disemboweled by an all white male racist (Christian) Supreme Court 8-1 who declared it only applied to the government and not the individual states. Hence that classic racist term of “states rights” became common. That Supreme Court decision ushered in Jim Crow laws. If you want to know all the sordid particulars, read this book: Inherently Unequal – The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court 1865-1903 by Lawrence Goldstone. They did the same type of thing to the Civil Rights Act of 1875 that the current Supreme Court did to the Civil Rights Act that was signed by LBJ in the 60’s.

      Reply
    • Clinton

      The Civil Rights Act of 1875 (18 Stat. 335–337),[2] sometimes called Enforcement Act or Force Act, was a United States federal law enacted during the Reconstruction Era to guarantee African Americans equal treatment in public accommodations, public transportation, and to prohibit exclusion from jury service. The bill was passed by the 43rd United States Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1875. Several years later, the Supreme Court ruled in Civil Rights Cases (1883) that sections of the act were unconstitutional.

      Reply
    • Aqeel Furqan

      It is even now and was then the same for Native Americans[Indians]agreements,treaties,etc..they were never kept. Today there are some both Black and White who believe we are not citizens and do not deserve or have the same rights.

      Reply
  2. Harold

    If blacks would live amongst each other and do business with each other, we would be able to support each other and not need to care about how others view us.

    Reply
    • Truth.com

      I totally agree with this comment. We have begged, fought and forced others to give us the scraps from thier tables. Instead we would be better off, making our own table and feeding ourselves!

      I wonder if we fear failure or uniting withour own kind. Sure it will not be perfect….but we should at least try it before we knock it.

      Look at our current reality and understand that it is the sad alternative to trying something new!

      Reply
    • Floyd

      Harold, we were living with each other and doing business with each other pre -1965. Even though we had Jim Crow breathing down our neck, we continued to survive, and grow. I was told by my brother that the Kennedy’s had a research done and determined that we were growing too fast and they could not effective control in their ways the 10th largest economy in the USA. This economy was the Black buying power. After this report on our progress, they determined that we should be integrated so they can keep an eye on us and to inhibit our progress and potential power.
      What do you think of this analysis?

      Reply
      • Dave Myers

        Ok Floyd , If you’re going to make statements like that re: a study that affected black people , I would appreciate a link to some scientific documentation … I don’t know you and I don’t know your brother either . Thanks

        Reply
        • AG

          Dave do you really need a source…for the obvious? Take look at predominantly black public schools, take a look at the government’s so called intervention…all very ineffective… Regardless of the reason the true is that black children are behind white children educationally and whites that attend black schools score just as poorly as the blacks. So it can’t be blamed on genetics. One last thing how about the government the DOJ tries to stop black families from using school vouchers to attend private schools. Where there is smoke there is fire.

          Reply
      • Cynthia Perry-Crawford

        I have always believed that integration was the beginning of a new phase of our lives being dictated by others. The pretended to treat us equally, however, that was/is the case.

        Reply
      • DJ

        It was the most productive period in our history in this country actually. We made remarkable strides, even in education. I think that all of those years of struggling for inclusion has left us lacking in memory in terms of what we did accomplish together.

        Reply
    • Ayannah

      We have to do it again! Still after 200+ years even with the likes of Oprah, MJ’s, JZ and 58,000 black millionaires we still only own 1% of the total wealth of this country! We have to live and sell and build up our communities like the Black Wall street of Oklahoma City did and Rosewood in Florida! We did it then, what is stopping us Now, except our own selves! Let Massa Go!!!! ***

      Reply
    • Steve

      Just keep in mind, the last time we achieved that kind of unity was in 1920s Tulsa, OK and Rosewood, FLA. In short order, both were burned to the ground in 1921 and 1923, respectively.

      So remember it’s not JUST about us supporting each other, we are also being actively attacked at every turn.

      Reply
  3. Barbara Scott

    Two of th worse things that has happened to Africans born in th US is TV and intergratio.The book is Once Upon a Time When we Were Colored.Chains on th brain ie,media managed.Th film Th History Of Entertainment tells it all.

    Reply
  4. Joseph L. Bass, EdD

    Every black American should know a lot more about Reconstruction than these seven things. The South could not win the Civil War on the battlefield, but the Klan won it with the Compromise of 1877. One of the ways the Klan won the Civil War was to apply strict gun control on blacks. And now blacks are for gun control. Go figure. Joseph L. Bass, EdD,

    Reply
  5. A Christopher

    Harold, go on line and look up “Rosewood Oklahoma!
    Here were Black people living ,working and prospering in their community
    so well that white racists got angry and slaughtered them.
    Read about it!
    Chris

    Reply
    • Dre Peltier

      Chris, you sure that’s not Rosewood, Florida like the movie featuring Don Cheadle and Ving Rhames. But there was a Black Wall Street in Oklahoma comprised of black owned businesses which the white man eventually burned down because they got to be too prosperious.

      Reply
    • K Kelly

      Chris, did you mean Tulsa, Oklahoma (The Black Wall Street) that had “The Riot of 1921” or are you talking about Rosewood, Florida (where the Black area of town was destroyed by white?

      Reply
  6. Arnett V Cooper

    Dear Brother all of you are speaking the Truth about the Recontruction era but you or we like it or not we should be studying slavery as well avoiding the subject will not help our situation that way we can actually can come together and start fighting back and declaring war on White America for their historic evil on us & those who oppose unity of us coming together for our Creator our children our family & our community we could bring back the Black Wall Streets the Rosewoods & Afrika to us & the World We should be busy ourselves in this country just like our Brothers & Sisters in Afrika are doing instead of partying getting high on alcohol & drugs not to mention killing & hating ourselves our women & each other

    Reply
    • Angela

      Arnett,

      I’m sorry that you still hold so much hatred in your heart for what happened in the past to your race. I have native American in my blood and I understand what happened to my race but it was in the past. What we need to do now is to learn to live together and make something of ourselves and to learn to love and serve one another. Hatred will get us no where. I know that is the easiest route but to forgive and find a way to succeed is the most noble route. And I also know that your race is a noble race and I believe that you are all able to prove what a great and noble race you are. You are already proving it. You just need to come together and believe in yourselves and get your kids to believe in themselves too. Dr. Ben Carson is a great role model for your race. There are millions of role models like him. (meanwhile, my race is being held back from making any progress) You should be proud! Go out and prove it!

      Reply
      • Ernest Johnson

        Bro. Floyd, Provided your research and study is on point then we must know our destiny. Further, we must know how to get to it,
        or taught its whereabouts.

        Reply
      • Robert

        Angela, you have a good point but don’t bring Ben Carson’s name into the conversation. Black people do not like him. White people love him. He is a sellout to the Black community. He is a very smart man, But so are a lot of black individuals. But Ben Carson is a bad example.

        Reply
      • Kamal Musaddiq

        What have we been trying to do for the past 150 + years ? Wake the hell up and realize that power structure will will never honor any agreement or treaty made . Review their history !!!

        Reply
  7. Tony Frederick

    Hell ! I went to Jackson, Mississippi in 1971 and barely got out with my life! That was the first time I had ever been afraid as a Black person. For being black! Those people down there were serious about hating black people ! Even the children were calling me the “N” word ! I did not set foot in Mississippi again for about 27 years and then it was only because I worked for a moving company. We were on our way out of Arkansas,to South Carolina. I got stopped in Miss. because I was in the wrong lane with the truck. When the trooper walked up and asked me for my information. I was shaking so bad that I almost dropped it. He asked me what was wrong. I told him about the incident that happened back in the 70’s. He told me that they were not like that anymore. He said that those people only existed way down in the Southern part of the state. He called them “Die Hard Racist” ! He gave me a warning, and let me go! I still get nervous when I think of the time, I almost lost my life because of my color. Not because of who I was. I don’t have a racist bone in my body, but I will never forget that experience!

    Reply
  8. Allen Shaw

    This may not be the correct thread to include this article; however since today’s Blacks continue to bring up the past, maybe they might want to read about Dr King 1960.
    It may be ok to keep dredging up history over 134 years ago, however a little bit of current history might be useful.

    ***

    Reply
  9. d farrell

    You guys know we are being monitored. So why not take a page from the history of our ancestors. Recreate our
    own private way of read thw 11chap of Gen

    ng

    Reply
  10. Pingback: 7 Things Every AMERICAN Should Know About the Reconstruction Era | knowledge of self

  11. taritaritari5

    All should revisit their histories and then share it with others to be able to move forward.

    See the wrongs and rights and understand that there was much ignorance in the past as there is now.

    We must be able to critique the past in order to aid in bringing about better outcomes today and in the future.

    Many still choose to perpetuate ignorance which will hold us back unless we work on eradicating it all together.

    Then we shall see the God or Spiritual being that we should be representing!

    Reply
  12. Tony Watt

    IT IS SO SAD TO LISTEN TO THE IGNORANCE OF WHO WE ARE AS A PEOPLE I HEARD SOMEONE TALK ABOUT HATRED TO CARRY THE
    BAGGAGE OF HATRED FOR ANYTHING IS COUNTER PRODUCTIVE BUT TO BELIEVE WE SHOULD CONTINUE ON THE PATH WE ARE ON NOW IS
    RIDICULOUS WE ARE A INDOCTRINATED PEOPLE SOME US SO MUCH SO
    THEY ARE CULTURALLY WHITE FROM BIRTH WE ARE TAUGHT TO
    ASSIMILATE THE VALUES OF WHITE PEOPLE THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE
    ASSIMILATED THE MOST BELIEVE IN SOMETHING THAT WHITE PEOPLE TO DATE HAVE NEVER BELIEVED IN THE WORD IS EQUALITY LIKE THE WORD
    FREEDOM IT IS SUBJECT TO THEIR DEFINITION IF WE CONTINUE TO LET
    THE ANCESTORS OF THOSE WHO ENSLAVED OUR PEOPLE DEFINE WHO AND WHAT WE BECOME AS A PEOPLE WE ARE COMMITTING GENOCIDE ON OURSELVES DO NOT BELIEVE FOR ONE EVEN THOUGH MANY OF YOU TRULY INDOCTRINATED BELIEVERS DO THAT THE PLAYING FIELD IS NOW EQUAL ALL BECAUSE YOUR PARTICULAR STATUS HAS CHANGED AND
    YOU NOW BELIEVE WE CAN ALL SO CALLED MAKE IT TO WHERE TO MONEY DEAD WHITE MEN ON GREEN PAPER HALF OF WHO WERE SLAVE OWNERS YET WE HAVE BECOME SO INDOCTRINATED TO THIS PAPER BECAUSE IT IS
    THE ONE FOCAL POINT USED TO MANIPULATE THE WHOLE PLANET FOR
    THE MORE GREEN PAPER YOU HAVE THE BETTER YOUR LIFE WILL BE A
    POWERFUL TOOL MANY BLACK PEOPLE HAVE DIED TO ATTAIN IT , IT IS A
    CAN OF WORMS JUST LIKE GUNS MONEY IS NOT EVIL PEOPLE ARE EVIL
    GUNS DON’T KILL PEOPLE , PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE BOTH STATEMENTS ARE
    NOT TRUE ONCE YOU PUT VALUE ON A OBJECT YOU ARE PUTTING ALSO
    CONDITIONS ON HOW TO OBTAIN IT RULES OF LAW MEAN NOTHING FOR THE THING IS VALUED MORE THAN A LIFE , ONCE WE AS HUMAN BEINGS
    BEGAN TO KILL EACH OTHER WE RATIONALIZED THAT ANY WEAPON
    CREATED AGAINST OUR ENEMIES CAN NEVER BE A BAD THING THERE
    BY WEAPONS A THING BECOMES MORE IMPORTANT THAN LIFE SO WE
    END UP LIVING IN A MATERIALISTIC WORLD CONTROLLED BY THE
    MINORITY WHITE MATRIX THAT LOVES THINGS MORE THAN PEOPLE AND DEFINITELY DOES NOT PLAN ON ALLOWING BLACK PEOPLE TO BECOME
    EMPOWERED IN ANYWAY DRUGS, MISTRUST. MONEY, NOT ALLOWING US
    TO TEACH OUR TRUE HISTORY TO OUR YOUNG THESE ARE THE
    METHODS THAT HAVE GERMINATED IGNORANCE IN BLACK PEOPLE SINCE
    THE NEW SLAVERY THE MENTAL SLAVERY THAT FOLLOWED THE CHAINS ON THE BODY TO THE CHAINS OF INDOCTRINATION ON OUR BRAINS
    HAPPENS EVERY TIME WE TURN ON TV IT INDOCTRINATES US LIKE NOTHING ELSE ENOUGH SAID THOSE OF YOU WHO YOU WHO WILL DISAGREE WITH MUCH OF WHAT I HAVE SAID STAY SAFE IN YOUR COCOON
    OF IGNORANCE SELF LOVE IS NOT A DISEASE ASK ANY WHITE PERSON WE
    NEED TO STOP ACTING LIKE IT IS.

    Reply
  13. Hiroader2

    The Reconstruction Era up to the mid 1960’s has been very informative regarding conservative (preservative) influence then and the (preservative) conservative movement in the Limbaugh/Beck period….. Throughout the entire 1865-thru-1965 span of time in AA history I’d had consider Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute’s regional educational/self-reliance expansions and Especially the Montgomery bus boycotts as the most important movements in AA history… EVEN today, All people have to do is illuminate, examine the southern practice of “sharecropping” in todays narritive and realize the (preservatives) intent on self-reliance or equality… As a matter of fact as a experiment.., If the AA community wanted to irritate the Wall St. and conservative red states (farming) agitators & instigators “boycott” their market fruit & vegetables by growing home gardens everywhere… Imagine sharecroppers couldn’t grow food on the property they slaved over & all necessities had to be brought at the land owner’s store… Game recognizes (anti-self reliance) game… Exactly who does the money go to?…

    Reply
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  16. Ben Haith

    Since the very beginning, our mental health professionals have avoided how racism affects all of us! Why? We all need group therapy on racism! This is our only recourse. If we don’t get the help we need now, then we will remain in this social condition for years to come! It is time to admit we all need help! We have suffered enough! God blesses the American people.

    Reply
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  18. Linda Shackelford

    My thoughts after reading this article is first, I’m thankful for the post. Second, I was empresses of Presudebt Grants considerable initiatives regarding Blacks rights. However, it was challenged by hateful whites, which seems to reflect the ongoing racial battles in this nation still to date, no matter the laws, rights, etc.

    Reply

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