The Struggle Of African Americans During The Civil War

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The Civil War separated families and divided the country. Neighbors turned enemies, brothers found themselves at the opposite sides of the battlefield, and a once unified country tore apart at the hinges. Four years of war slowly glued the country back together, forcing the Confederacy back into the Union. As the Union began to win more battles, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a document that granted slaves freedom from servitude. At the end of the war, the southern half of the United States underwent a massive overhaul called reconstruction. Federal troops and generals kept order in the south to prevent any more uprisings as the south tried to rebuild what it had lost during the war. In a speech at the dedication of Soldier’s …show more content…
When the Civil War ended the night time had become a time when blacks could finally relax and enjoy life. However, roving terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan threatened many African Americans during the night, effectively making it unsafe. The KKK didn’t stop at intimidation, beatings and executions were consistent, forcing blacks to give up the night and to live in fear. A particular favorite of the KKK were targeted assassinations. Black and republican leaders alike had to be constantly aware of their surroundings. Charles Caldwell, a former slave and a current state senator, became a marked man for angering the white members of his county. At a bar on Christmas Day, Caldwell was shot in the back of the head by an assassin. Just months prior, he had escaped an angry mob of white democrats for the crime of trying to organize a barbecue. Four days later, the mob hunted down and executed forty black, republican leaders. Eventually, the Ku Klux Klan grew so powerful that congress had to step in and pass multiple laws banning the organization In some cases, the KKK became such a potent force that Ulysses S. Grant suspended the writ of habeas corpus in nine South Carolina counties. Hundreds of men suspected of being klansmen were rounded up and arrested. Sadly, although these measures tried to limit the power of the KKK, the acts were futile and …show more content…
They could not stay out at night, for fear of death. They could not vote, for fear of retribution. They could not even organize a gathering, without a mob forming. What is freedom if you cannot use it? Frederick Douglass fought against the idea of false freedom in his autobiography. Douglass states, “No man can be truly free whose liberty is dependent upon the thought, feeling and action of others” While the argument that this was an important yet small step towards equality can be made, segregation did not end in the south for another hundred years. The federal government could have done more and should have done more to protect our neighbors in the south. One hundred and fifty-three years after Lincoln predicted “a new birth of freedom” the failures of the reconstruction are still visible

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