The Reconstruction Era
After the Civil War, many wondered if anything was being done to integrate former slaves into white society. Although there was extreme racism in the south, many mandates were passed to make African Americans equal to the white man. This begged the question if African Americans were truly freed from oppression? I believe they were freed from oppression during the Reconstruction Era. This is because colored families were being reunited, they were given an education and compensation for their work, and they were allowed the same rights as a white man.
During the Reconstruction Era, many colored families that were once torn apart by slavery were being reunited. Marriage records from the Clark County Registrar in Arkansas record colored men and women who were once unofficially married during slavery and separated by their masters becoming legally married and reunited. This indicates to me that something was being done to reunite broken families and broken marriages of former slaves.
In the 14th Amendment of the Constitution it states, “,nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of the law.” This means that African Americans had the same right as a white man to become legally married and form a stable family not affected by slavery.
Another success achieved during the Reconstruction Era was the fact that African Americans were being given an education and compensation for their work. In a contract between African American sharecroppers and the owner of the land it states, “ James Mitchell is to furnish us in meat and bread.” This means that they are getting compensation for their work. Also the fact that this is a contract in which both parties agree on the terms means that they are also choosing to work for the owner of the land, not being forced to work without compensation as in slavery. A report by the Virginia’s State Superintendent of schools states that, “Not less than 50,000 of the late slave population of this State have learned to read and write.” With this being said, this shows that state governments were taking steps to educate the former slave population and integrate them into society.
During the Reconstruction Era, African Americans were also being allowed equal rights to the white man. In the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution it states, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” Therefore, African Americans were becoming true American citizens. African American males were also being allowed the right to vote. In the 15th amendment it states, “The Right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. This passage proves that the government was taking steps to make African Americans a part of our society.
In conclusion, African Americans lives were being changed for the better because of the Reconstruction Era. They were becoming true citizens of the United States and being freed from their former bonds of slavery. The African Americans were truly freed from oppression during the Reconstruction Era.