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After the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were ratified, life in the south for the newly appointed freedmen did not improve. Freedmen’s lives ultimately did not change as they continued to suffer discrimination because of how white southerners were able to strip the rights given by the three amendments.
By Matt, Alcy, and Blake
The Black Codes
After the thirteenth amendment was ratified the south came up with a new set of laws, The Black Codes. The Black codes were highly restrictive laws that Southern states adopted after the Civil War to regulate the freedom and movement of former slaves1
1. Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein, "Black Codes," American Government ABC-CLIO, [Page #], accessed October 14, 2013, http://americangovernment.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/202723?terms=the%20black%20codes&webSiteCode=SLN_AMGOV&returnToPage=%2fSearch%2fDisplay%2f202723%3fterms%3dthe+black+codes&token=DEA4D3D570D6AEE948F35663FCAA8E96&casError=False.
2. Richard Kluger, Simple Justice: The History of Brown V. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality (New York: Vintage Books, 2004), 44-45.
3. Constitutional Rights Foundation, accessed October 14, 2013, http://www.crf-usa.org/brown-v-board-50th-anniversary/southern-black-codes.html.
The Fourteenth Amendment failed to protect the freedmen from the Southern states because of all the new laws and conflicts limiting the freedmen's living conditions.
By taking away all former confederate officials the right to serve in the government it made the south very biased towards the freedmen increasing racism and discrimination.
Ninety-five percent of all blacks could not read making them easily manipulated by their former masters
White men still had priority in buying land making it nearly impossible for black farmers to own and farm land resulting in fines for unemployment.4
Sharecropping introduced: A system in which white landowners gave a few acres of land, wages, and housing to a black family in exchange for the backs to grow and harvest the crops giving the majority to the owner
Courts offered little assistance thus oppression and violations of civil rights continued.
Black business men were discriminated by many different people resulting in low economic problems.
The KKK attacked black men that owned land, killed farmers livestock, and tried to force them into working for white landowners.5
4American History, s.v. "Fourteenth Amendment," accessed October 14, 2013. http://americanhistory.abc-clio.com/.
5American Government, s.v. "Fourteenth Amendment (ratified 1868)," accessed October 14, 2013. http://americangovernment.abc-clio.com/.
The fifteenth amendment was unable function to its full potential because of how white southerners altered freedmen’s ability to vote.
“These amendments and various civil rights statutes initially failed to accomplish their objectives because of strong opposition from Southern whites and the unwillingness of subsequent presidents and Congresses to provide enforcement mechanisms. As a result, patterns of racism and discrimination developed that perpetuated social and political inequality. Future efforts to redress these problems resulted in additional legislation and the development of affirmative action programs in the late 20th century.”6
“On April 13, 1873, during Reconstruction, a mob of white Democrats attacked and killed about 280 black Republicans in Colfax, Louisiana, during a contested local election. The white mob also purported to be a militia, but it acted under its own authority, and contained many members of the White League and the Ku Klux Klan.” 7
“we will not look back to the adoption of the fifteenth amendment with pride or pleasure. It is now clearly seen that negro enfranchisement was, next to secession, the most fatal blunder in our history. It has brought nothing but injury to either race, and it has totally failed to serve the purpose of its adoption”8
6Tom Lansford, Reconstruction: Civil Rights Acts, 2013, in ABC-CLIO, [Page #], accessed October 11, 2013, http://africanamerican.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1400806?terms=the+fifteenth+amendment+in+act.
7U.S. v. Cruikshan, [Page #], accessed October 14, 2013, http://africanamerican.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1407196?terms=April+13%2c+1873.
8"Looking Back," The Washington Post (Washington, DC), December 21, 1899, .
American Government, s.v. "Fourteenth Amendment (ratified 1868)," accessed October 14, 2013. http://americangovernment.abc-clio.com/.
American History, s.v. "Fourteenth Amendment," accessed October 14, 2013. http://americanhistory.abc-clio.com/.
Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein, "Black Codes," American Government ABC-CLIO, [Page #], accessed October 14, 2013, http://americangovernment.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/202723?terms=the%20black%20codes&webSiteCode=SLN_AMGOV&returnToPage=%2fSearch%2fDisplay%2f202723%3fterms%3dthe+black+codes&token=DEA4D3D570D6AEE948F35663FCAA8E96&casError=False.
Kluger, Richard. Simple Justice: The History of Brown V. Board of Education and
Black America's Struggle for Equality. New York: Vintage Books, 2004.
Constitutional Rights Foundation. Accessed October 14, 2013.
Lansford, Tom. Reconstruction: Civil Rights Acts. 2013. In ABC-CLIO. Accessed October 11, 2013. http://africanamerican.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/
The Washington Post (Washington, DC). "Looking Back." December 21, 1899, 1.
U.S. v. Cruikshan. Accessed October 14, 2013.