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Role of African Americans in the Reconstruction era Essay

The Reconstruction era has two uses one covering the entire nation as a whole from 1856 until 1877 and the second one mostly dealt with transitions in the former confederacy from 1863 until 1877 . In the south they mostly worked on their social life and social behaviors as well as their government and how they worked .

During this time there were three different Amendments added to the Constitution that affected the entire nation . Reconstruction began and ended at different times in different states but the Compromise of 1877 put an end to it all . But during this time period African Americans had a huge role in many of the aspects and there were somewhat you could call “star players” that helped them as a whole race advance in the American society .

At first there was a difficulty amongst the African American population just by the fact that most of them had been slaves most of their whole lives and they didn’t know how to handle being free . They didn’t know what to do for their day and they were on there own for the first time not knowing where to look for work and other things . But once they found out where to find work it would be no problem for them because most African Americans have experience and are very skilled craftsmen .

Most of them were mores skilled then the White carpenters that have been around for a while and put some of them out of work . And another difficulty was for the White people of the north . They have had free slaves around before but now that they were all free they didn’t know how to handle that . If it weren’t for discrimination then they would be even on the job market . Even with discrimination some of the African Americans would have a better job then some of the Whites of the North .

Once the war was over then with the freeing of slaves the population in the south decreased by a massive amount . 1“It was recorded that there were about four million slaves in the United States of America in 1860” . Most of which would be moving onto the north to get away from their previous life so they weren’t reminded of their past .

But a few of them stayed back and became wager workers for their previous owners . The great thing for them was they got to choose what work they did, what hours they worked and whether or not they wanted to work that day or if they just wanted to take a personal day . As well as them choosing to become only workers, abolitionists wanted former slave owners divide their land up giving each slave his or her own share of the land . 2”Discussions of land distribution fueled false rumors that freed slaves would get ‘forty acres and a mule,’ a slogan that swept the South at the end of the war.”

They felt as though for them to have a good start then they need to be equipped with the right things that is with land because rights and freedom wasn’t enough to get them on the right track to the pursuit of happiness they also needed land .

Now for what I would call the “star players” for African American development during the 1870’s . One of them would have to be Oscar J. Dunn, a former slave that got elected to the Republican Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana in 1870 .

He was the first African American to be elected and to hold any power in a states government . After him there would be two more African Americans to follow in his footsteps to be the Republican Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana . Another African American that had a huge role during the Reconstruction era was Hiram Revels elected to United States Senate . He was the first African American to hold a seat in the United States Senate which also meant he was the first African American to be in the United States Congress .

During his term he represented Mississippi which his term only lasted ten years after the reconstruction era was over . Even until today he is one of six African Americans to take a position in the United States Senate . Another African American that had a huge role in the reconstruction era was Joseph H. Rainey . He was the first African American to be sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives on December 12, 1870. He was the first African American to be directly elected into the United States Congress .

He was freed as a slave early on . He was freed in 1840 by his own father who bought not only his freedom but the freedom of his whole family .

African Americans had a great role in how the reconstruction era turned out . They broke barriers and they set a new standard for their peers and children of the future . The reconstruction era wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for the efforts of all the African Americans .

George Brwon Tindall and David Emory Shi. America: A Narrative History 8th Edition. New York City, New York.: W.W. Norton & Company 2008.

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