Introduction The America that was there after the conclusion of the civil war is nothing like the America we recognize presently. Significant events have occurred since 1865 that have shaped our understanding of what America is today. Major industrialization and urbanization, equal rights for all citizens and the two major world wars that have shaped our understanding of what America is today. While, there are numerous events that have shaped America, there are few events that have served as markers of change for the entire society, particularly for the African Americans.
From 1619 to 1865, a significant number of African American immigrated to the United States as slaves. Ever since the arrival of the first African Americans in Point Comfort, currently known as Fort Monroe in Hampton, the African American community has made significant strides in the community. However, the major event that occasioned this strikes transpired in 1865: the abolishment of slavery. This marked as a single major event that catapulted the African American society to where it is today. This article will examine the history of African American from 1865 to today.
In 1865, the civil war between the north and south, or civil war as it is known came to an end. This was a time of great upheaval in the American society. The entire American society was attempting to integrate, and become part of the union. The south had agreed to integrate and become part f the union (Feagin, 2014). The South had consented to join the union. In the same year, President Lincoln was assassinated. The conclusion of the Civil War occasioned the beginning of the period of reconstruction.
This period was characterized by upheaval, and the AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY SINCE 1865 3 country attempted to reintegrate itself, and also integrate the southern. This was a period of new beginning for the entire nation (Gates, 2012). The Constitution 13th amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery in the United States of America. This phase is edged in history as one of the most imperative event in the African Americans history (Feagin, 2014).
During the era of reconstruction, which lasted from 1865 to 1876, significant events occurred that shaped the lives of African Americans. The African Americans begun the process of reintegration, and they found themselves with a system that they were not used to.
This period was not just a period of reintegration for the white people, but rather for the entire nation (Feagin, 2014). During this time, it was particularly challenging to the African Americans because they were attempting to integrate to a society that was heavily biased against them. During the reconstruction period, there was little political and social agreement, especially over the issues of who should be permitted to vote (Gates, 2012). There were disagreements as to whether confederates, ex-slaves or those slaves that fought during the war should be allowed to vote.
The death of President Lincoln and the establishment of new administration under President Andrew Johnson made the process of reintegration more complex for African Americans (Feagin, 2014). In 1866, legislation known as the ‘Black Codes’ was overwhelmingly passed by every white legislator of the former confederate States. The black codes greatly hampered the ability of African Americans to be reintegrated into the society (Gates, 2012). During that same year, the Congress passed the Civil rights act, which conferred citizenship rights to all African Americans, and giving those equal rights and liberties as to those of the white-American people (Feagin, 2014).
The 14th amendment was ratified, in 1868, which defined citizenship for the African Americans, and also which overturned the Dred Scot decision (Gates, 2012). The 14th amendment strengthened the civil and legal rights of the African Americans, elucidating among other things, AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY SINCE 1865 4 that no state in the union shall deprive any African Americans their due process in law and the equal protections provided in the law (Feagin, 2014).
The 14th amendment ensured, to some extent that the African Americans civil rights were protected. The 14th Amendment reversed the United States Supreme Court ruling in Dred Scott v. Sanford, which ruled that African Americans were not truly United States citizens (Feagin, 2014). The 14th amendment had several profound impacts on the lives of African Americans. First off, the amendment integrated African Americans into the society, by overruling the previous ruling that African Americans were not truly American citizens (Gates, 2012).
Secondly, the 14th amendment prohibited the national and state governments from depriving any person, including African Americans, liberty, life and property without due regard and process as established in law. By guarding the civil liberties and rights of African Americans, the law inflicted a penalty, which entailed the loss of electoral votes and the loss of congressional seats, on states that dispossessed African Americans of their voting rights. Thirdly, the 14th amendment guaranteed all Americans, regardless of their racial affiliations protection under the law (Feagin, 2014).
This clause serves an essential foundation for the decision to repeal the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that overturned segregation. The 15th amendment was ratified in 1870, which gave African Americans voting rights. As the third and final amendment to be ratified in the reconstruction period, the 15th amendment forbids the national and state governments from refusing a citizen the voting rights based on that citizen’s color, race or servitude (Feagin, 2014). The adoption of the 15th amendments was greeted with extensive celebrations in African American communities and other abolitionist societies.
The sense among African Americans is that their rights had been offered protected and secured. The adoption of the 15th Amendment completed a series of civil change, and it was one of the most significant events African American historical events. The 15th amendment meant AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY SINCE 1865 5 that the African American communities did not require the protection they were being offered by the government (Feagin, 2014). Towards the end of the reconstruction era, the south recognized that it would no longer be conceivable to hold on the perspective of recreating itself out of the North.
In spite of this, there was still lingering tensions between the North and South (Feagin, 2014). Although equal rights were granted to African Americans, they did not fully enjoy them. While African Americans enjoyed expanded freedoms, it would not be till nearly a hundred years later, during the Civil rights movement that the entire fruits of reconstruction would be seen. The period of reconstruction ended in 1877, during which, a deal was struck with Democratic leaders from the south, to make Rutherford B. Hayes the U. S president, in exchange for the withdrawal of federal troops from the south, and which stops the efforts to protect the Civil liberties of African Americans.
In the period after the reconstruction era, rapid industrialization followed. During this period, African Americans on the south started escaping to the North to run away from oppression (Gates, 2012). In 1879, thousands of African Americans moved to the north. In the industrialization period, rapid industrialization and development ensued in big cities in the United States. Construction of railroads spread across the country. Railroads encouraged the growth and expansion of cities (Gates, 2012).
Many Africa Americans migrated to the cities to work in the processing and production companies. In 1881, Tennessee ratified the first of the ‘Jim Crow’ segregation rules, which segregated stated railroads. Over the next 15 years, similar laws were passed throughout the southern States. The segregation laws caused African Americans to migrate to the northern States (Gates, 2012). The Jim Crow segregation laws conferred a separate but equal status to all African Americans. In practice, the separation led to circumstances for African Americans that were second-rate to those offered to white Americans.
AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY SINCE 1865 6 systematizing several of economic, educational and socials disadvantages. The southern states had De jure while de facto applied in the northern states (Feagin, 2014). The Jim Crow segregation laws inflicted segregation in housing, which was imposed by covenants, job discrimination, and loan lending discrimination in banks, and also African Americans were also discriminated in labor unions (Gates, 2012).
During the industrialization era, companies came up across various cities. African Americans were increasingly becoming urbanized, and left their farms and homesteads, and moved to big cities to get jobs. In 1887, the ‘standing Lincoln’ statue was unveiled at Augustus Saint gardens in Chicago (Feagin, 2014). The Plessey v. Ferguson case was a milestone ruling in the United States.
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that ‘Jim Crow’s separate but equal segregation policies to be legal, and begin being implemented. These laws barred African Americans from equal access in all public facilities. The 1900s marked the rise of civil rights movement across the United States. In 1954, the court in Brown v.
Board of education case, ruled that segregation in education facilities to be unconstitutional and this measure strike down segregation in education facilities (Feagin, 2014). In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat to a white man. Her defiance offered the start of a momentum to the civil rights movement that spread across the United States. She was not the first black person to refuse to wake up for a white person, but by the time of her action, there was growing resentment and anger in the African American society for being treated as second-class citizens.
Word went around about Montgomery mistreatment and arrest (Feagin, 2014). The Women’s Political Council resolved to protest Rosa Park’s ill-treatment by arranging a bus boycott to start on the day of Parks’ trial, December 5th. Martin Luther King Jr. and the African American community established an association, the MIA (Montgomery Improvement Association) to carry on boycotting until the AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY SINCE 1865 7 Jim Crow segregation laws were altered (Feagin, 2014). The key objective was to stop segregation in the public transport system and other sections of the society, and also to employ African-American drivers in Montgomery.
The public unrest ensured for 382 days, costing the Montgomery bus company he sums of money, however the city declined to give in (Feagin, 2014). The Montgomery protest leaders filed a national lawsuit in opposition to the city’s segregation rules, claiming that Montgomery desecrated the 14th Amendment. In 1956, a national court stated that the Montgomery segregation rules were unlawful, but lawyers for Montgomery County appealed. On November 3rd, 1956 the Supreme Court ruled that the segregation laws in Montgomery were illegal.
During the protest, the Montgomery authorities made many arrests (Feagin, 2014). At one time, the police detained a group of African Americans waiting for carpool pick-ups. A court jury acknowledged the boycott unlawful, and 115 protest leaders were detained. In 1957, Martin Luther King, Jr. established the Southern Christian Leadership conference, which served as the forefront engine of the civil rights movement. The conference served as the main council for organizing civil rights protests across United States. The civil right movements were against discrimination of any kind and the fair treatment of all people, regardless of their color across United States.
The civil right movement characterized main campaigns and protests of civil resistance (Feagin, 2014). The civil rights movements lasted between 1955 and 1968. The civil rights movements were characterized by civil disobedience and non-violent protests. In 1964, the civil rights act was ratified, and it prohibited all acts of discrimination. In 1965, The Voting Rights Act was ratified, and it outlaws the carried out in the South to disenfranchise black voters. In 1967, the first African American senator, Edward W. Brooke, was elected, and he served for two terms (Feagin, 2014). Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Tennessee, which was one of the sad moments in African American AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY SINCE 1865 8 history.
The election of Barack Obama served as a significant milestone for United States, particularly the African American community. President Barack Obama was elected the first African-American president, in 2008. President’s Barack Obama’s election served as one of the most significant milestone for the African Americans community (Feagin, 2014). A racial divide that was there between the African Americans and white Americans was erased, and it was erased for all eternity.
President Barack Obama was elected for a second term in office, which signaled the apparent rise of the African American community to the top (Feagin, 2014). In his second term in office, President Barack Obama has shown that there are things that seem more possible for the African Americans, than they were in his first term. He has made African Americans realize that they can achieve anything if they want to, and made their expectations realistic. Conclusion From the shackles of slavery in the 1800s, the African American community has risen to take full advantage of their civil liberties and freedoms. For over 300 years, African Americans fought for their civil rights and freedom.
The African Americans struggles have been a major issue in each juncture of United States history. In 1776, when slave-holders were revolting in opposition to the menace of British abolitionism, the African Americans formed part of the American Revolution. During the civil war, the African Americans were also part of the struggles. African Americans have endured as much as any other community and have fought for the rights and liberties of all people in the community.
From the attainment of freedom, and the struggle to get equal rights and civil liberties, the election of Barack Obama as the first African- American President, the African American community can gladly say that the racial divide between the Blacks and white Americans has been completely erased. AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY SINCE 1865 9 References Feagin, J. R. (2014). Racist America: Roots, current realities, and future reparations. London: Routledge. Gates, H. L. (2012). The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, 1865-present. London, UK: Oxford University Press.
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