African Americans During Reconstruction Essay

Several freedmen in South Carolina stand in line to vote for the first time. They wait, but when they reach the front, they are given a literacy test which they have to pass in order to vote. Voting was just one of the many rights the south denied freedmen during reconstruction. Many laws and amendments were created to make life fair for African Americans. However very few of these changes were respected in the south. Based on most of the documents and additional information from outside sources, very little change took place in the life of a freedman.
At first, some political changes were seen for freedmen in the United States however, “In less than a decade, reactionary forces–including the Ku Klux Klan–would reverse the changes wrought…

While African Americans were no longer considered slaves they often found themselves crawling back to former owner because they had nowhere else to go. Many of these Freedman were short on cash, so they attempted sharecropping. This was the process of renting land and tools from a landowner, and in turn a share of their profits would go to the landowner. This fight seem like a fair deal, but it wasn’t. Many landowners cheated their sharecroppers out of money and charged them excess amounts. This just lead to the sharecropper becoming more in debt and forced them to stay and work for the landowner, making sharecropping nothing but a less obvious form of slavery. In the north, freedmen could get jobs in factories, but they were paid significantly lower salaries than white men. Document D shows how much of the population was dependent on sharecropping to make a living due to the lack of better opportunities. Aside from the already wealthy landowners this did not help many people economically, especially newly freed slaves. Therefore the economic standing of African Americans saw almost no change during reconstruction….