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African American Essay

In the year of 1870, it was the re invention of slavery. America could not be built without economic. The south was still a negative place and they failed to accept blacks. After decades of discrimination, the voting rights act of 1965 aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that denied blacks to vote under the 15th amendment. The 15th amendment in 1870 gave African Americans the right to vote. The constitutional amendment passed after the civil war that it guaranteed blacks the right to vote.

It affected not only freed slaves in the south but the blacks that were living in the north who was not allowed to vote(3). The amendment was favored by the Republican Party; since the votes of the slaves helped the party dominates national politics in the years after the war. During the same year, Hiram Rhodes Revels, who was a republican from Mississippi, became the first African American to sit in the United States congress when he was elected to the United States Senate. Millions of black men served in congress during reconstruction but more than 600 served in the states legislatures and many more held local offices(3).

The Jim Crow laws were the era of struggle. The state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. In 1890, there was a “separate but equal” status for African Americans. Jim Crow laws followed the Black codes which restricted the civil rights and civil liberties of African Americans with no equality. During the reconstruction period, the federal law provided civil rights protection in the United States for the African Americans who had formally been slaves(1). In 1890, Louisiana required by law that blacks ride in separate railroad cars.

The state of Louisiana passed a law that required separate accommodations for black and whites on railroads, including separate railway cars. Plessy attempted to sit in an all-white railroad car. After refusing to sit in the black railway carriage car, Plessy was arrested for violating in1890. Louisiana statute that provided for segregated “separate but equal” railroad accommodations. Those using facilities not designated for their race were criminally liable under the statute(4). Plessy was found guilty on the grounds that the law was a reasonable exercise of the state’s police powers based upon custom, usage, and tradition in the state.

Plessy filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Louisiana against Ferguson, asserting that segregation stigmatized blacks and stamped them with a badge of inferiority in violation of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments(4). The case of Plessy vs. Ferguson was one of a combination of rulings passed by the U. S and the state Supreme Courts after reconstruction. Many of these decisions allowed and required Jim Crow segregation laws in southern states. At the highest level, the case was decided on May 18th in 1896, in favor of Ferguson and the state of Louisiana.

The Supreme Court had given southern states all the permission they needed to let any remaining equality between the races fade away and be replaced by the Jim Crow laws standing(5). By the 1870s, many southern whites had resorted to intimidation and violence to keep blacks from voting and restore white supremacy in the region. Beginning in 1873, a series of Supreme Court decisions limited the scope of Reconstruction-era laws and federal support for the Reconstruction Amendments, particularly the 14th and 15th, which gave African Americans the status of citizenship and protection.

The Compromise of 1877 occurred after the Presidential Election of 1876, when Congress formed the Electoral Commission to resolve disputed Democratic Electoral votes from the South. The republicans agreed to enact Federal legislation that would spur industrialization in the south. They agreed to withdraw federal soldiers from their remaining positions in the south(5). They did this to appoint democrats to positions in the south and to appoint a democrat to the president’s cabinet. The Compromise of 1877 effectively ended the Reconstruction era.

The Southern Democrats promised to protect but the political rights of blacks were not kept. The end of federal interference in southern affairs led to widespread disenfranchisement of blacks voters(4). From the late 1870s, southern legislatures passed a series of laws requiring the separation of whites from “persons of color” on public transportation, in schools, parks, restaurants, theaters and other locations. These segregationist statutes governed life in the South through the middle of the next century, ending after the success of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s.

The migration was a watershed in the history of African Americans. It lessened their overwhelming concentration in the South, opened up industrial jobs to people who had up to then been mostly farmers, and gave the first significant impetus to their urbanization. The black migration began in the 1890s as African Americans left for cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and New York(8). The single largest movement of African Americans occurred during World War I, when people moved from rural areas and small towns in the South to cities in the North and the East.

Even in the North, blacks encountered violence at the hands of whites, who resented competition for jobs and black economic success. Segregation and discrimination in housing, education, and jobs was pervasive in the North as well. From 1916, more than six million blacks left the South for other regions of the United States. Over the next fifteen years, more than one tenth of the country’s black population would voluntarily move north. The Great Migration lasted until 1930. This was the first step in the full nationalization of the African American population(2). The Klu Klux Klan is the oldest organization.

During this time 1920’s, there were still 85 percent of African Americans in the south. The Klan was created in 1871 by the Democratic Party to prevent African Americans from voting the 15th Amendment. The Klan also became Americans 1st terrorist group and became an institutional part of American life and political colt. African Americans were intimidated and had fear towards the KKK. They hated blacks, republicans, Jews, etc(6). In the 1920s, many blacks had been brought to the south against their own will after the success of the northern states during the Civil War.

Also, after the freeing of the blacks from slavery in 1865, a group was established which was designed to spread fear throughout the black population that still lived in the southern states. Most of the hatred was directed against the poor black families in the south who were very vulnerable to attack(6). The white hooded KKK burnt churches of the black population, murdered, raped, castrated etc. They were rarely caught as most senior law officers in the South were high ranking KKK men.

White people who were in contact with any blacks had a reason to fear the KKK because they would be after them as well for being what they called “nigga lovers”(6). The Black Americans tried to fight back using non-violent methods. The NAACP asked Washington for new laws to help combat the KKK violence but received very little help. In the 1920’s Black Americans started to turn to the “Back to Africa” movement which told blacks that they should return to their native America. This was started by Marcus Garvey but the whole movement faltered when he was arrested for fraud and sent to prison.

If African Americans were to move back to Africa, they would be giving the “white America” exactly what they asked for(6). African Americans drew to church. Going to church brought everyone closer to God despite everything that was going on in the 1920’s. In 1865, blacks started to create independent black churches. The African Methodist Episcopal and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion churches claimed southern membership in the hundreds of thousands, far outstripping that of any other organizations. They were quickly joined in 1870 by a new southern-based denomination, the Colored (Christian) Methodist Episcopal Church.

The church was founded by indigenous southern black leaders. Finally, in 1894 black Baptists formed the National Baptist Convention which was an organization that is the largest black religious organization still today in the United States(8). The blossoming of the Harlem Renaissance was during 1918 through 1937. Harlem is located just north of Central Park. Harlem formally was a white residential district but by the early 1920’s, it was the becoming of a virtually black city. Harlem was a catalyst for artistic experimentation and a nightly popular nightlife destination.

This was also an economic opportunity in New York(8). The Harlem Renaissance was a phase of a larger new Negro movement that emerged in the early 20th century. The movement raised issues affecting the lives of African Americans through various forms of literature, art, and drama. Its influence spread throughout the nation and beyond that included writers and philosophers. Between the 1920’s and 1930’s, about 750,000 African Americans left the south and migrated to the north to take advantage of this movement. The Harlem Renaissance appealed to a mixture audience.

The literature appealed to the African American middle class and to whites. Many critics point out that the Harlem Renaissance could not escape its history and culture. Its attempt to create a new one separates from the foundational elements of White, European culture. Social foundations of this movement included the great migration of African Americans from rural to urban areas(8). The Harlem Renaissance was exposure to the African American Art and culture. It is also unusual among literary and artistic movements for its close relationship to civil rights.

The Harlem renaissance set the stage for the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and the 60’s. This was very much black culture exposure. The African American artists intended to express themselves freely, no matter what the black public or white public thought. Since the 1980s, New Orleans has been the area for a new school of jazz players, among them trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and his brothers, saxophonist Branford Marsalis and trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis. New Orleans has brought widespread attention to jazz and a new appreciation of the city and its jazz tradition(7).

In the 1890’s it was the beginning of the Mississippi Delta Blues. The blues is the generation of American Music. By the 1900’s New Orleans Jazz was introduced. Jazz was first originally accepted in France before anywhere else. Jazz was played by whites and blacks. Both races played jazz together. Jazz was for the middle class African American people(7). In conclusion, during the years of 1870 and 1920, African Americans still encountered a lot of continued discrimination against blacks in American and the separation of race.

Through the Jim Crow laws and the segregation, Blacks kept it together through religion, and even music. When looking back at our history, African Americans had a great deal to do with the shaping of America today. Bibliography 1) “Jim Crow Law (United States [1877-1954]). ” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n. d. Web. 09 May 2013. 2) “Primary Documents in American History. ” 15th Amendment to the Constitution: Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress).

N. p. , n. d. Web. 09 May 2013. 3) Fifteenth Amendment. ” History. com. A&E Television Networks, n. d. Web. 09 May 2013. 4) “Compromise of 1877. ” History. com. A&E Television Networks, n. d. Web. 09 May 2013. 5) “Compromise of 1877. ” Information about The. N. p. , n. d. Web. 09 May 2013. 6) “The KKK and Racial Problems. ” The KKK and Racial Problems. N. p. , n. d. Web. 09 May 2013. 7) “A History of Jazz Music. ” A History of Jazz Music. N. p. , n. d. Web. 09 May 2013. 8) Notes.


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