How did the social status of American African changed during the Reconstruction era(1865-1875) – Research Paper Example

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Although there were still some tensions in the relations between blacks and whites, the Reconstruction really changed this as well as the social status of African-American in the United States. Some African-Americans were employed in some industries like steel mills but generally, the blacks were barred from industries such as textile mills as they were portrayed as lazy and ignorant. More so, majority of African-Americans were tenant farmers but this changed when the civil rights of the blacks were advocated during the Reconstruction era. During this period, racial discrimination in public accommodations including hostels and theaters was highly condemned under the Civil Rights Act of 1875.

Social discrimination has been there in black and white communities and even during slavery, African American community made a clear distinction between the slaves and the freemen. The growth of a black elite ensured that there were black leaders during the Reconstruction era and this indeed brought many social changes for the blacks (Moore 3). According to this act, every American citizen had the right to enjoy outlined civil rights in the constitution regardless of race.

This act demanded that the blacks need to be accorded the same civil rights just like their white counterparts. However, the civil rights case was seen as unenforceable as it addressed social issues not civil rights. Later on, it was noted that this amendment protected individuals against violations of their rights by states not individuals’ actions. As a result, the South enacted laws that legalized racial segregation in all public places including schools, hospitals and restaurants. African Americans were discriminated by the Southern whites and there was intense social inequality between the two groups.

Tolerating segregation led to the emergence of supremacy of the whites over the blacks. The self-consciousness of the white has been their self-identity not because they are in touch of the blacks (Gao 1). Movements such as the civil rights movement during the reconstruction era led to the banning of racism. More so, formal equality and freedom were created. However, the new system that was established to some extent encouraged white supremacy and racism and so the blacks were still separated and seen as unequal and occupied subordinate status in the United States (Smith 4). The Reconstruction period brought by many social changes to African-Americans who suffered from racial segregation, slavery and exploitation among others.

Works Cited

Campbell, James M, and Rebecca J. Fraser. Reconstruction: People and Perspectives. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, Inc, 2008. Print.

Du Bois, W. Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880. Simon and Schuster, 1935

Finkelman, Paul. Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-First Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

Gao, Chunchang. African Americans in the Reconstruction Era. Taylor & Francis, 2000.

Jones, Angela. African American Civil Rights: Early Activism and the Niagara Movement. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger, 2011. Print.

Moore, Jacqueline M. Leading the Race: The Transformation of the Black Elite in the Nations Capital, 1880 - 1920. Charlottesville [u.a.]: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1999. Print.

Persons, Georgia A. Contours of African American Politics. New Brunswick, N.J: Transaction Publishers, 2012. Print.

Royster, Jacqueline J. Traces of a Stream: Literacy and Social Change among African American Women. University of Pittsburgh Pre, 2000.

Smith, Robert C. Encyclopedia of African American Politics. New York, NY: Facts On File, 2003.

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