Subject 15 October 2012 The Legacy of Reconstruction and the Impact of Jim Crow on the Economic Freedom for African Americans Jim Crow, as the name may indicate, is not a person but the term derives from a “19th century minstrel song that stereotyped the African American” community (The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow 1)…
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1) arising after Reconstruction ended by 1877. This was further carried forward into the mid 19th century though during Reconstruction and even subsequent to the passing of the Amendments 13th, 14th and 15th have been enacted, giving black Americans their freedom, citizenship and right to vote. Further, the Civil Rights Act of 1875 has made it illegal to segregate schools, public accommodation, modes of transport, juries etc. However, actual practices have remained contrary and in opposition of relevant statutes. Thus, the period is considered as the era of white domination as a divine right, the belief encouraged by the church that whites are the ‘Chosen People’ and blacks are ‘cursed’ to be servants and that God’s will desired racial segregation. This notion has further fanned and spread at every educational level, by the so called intellectual custodians, that blacks are innately intellectually and culturally inferior to whites. This gives impetus to pro white politicians to cry foul of the laws enacted, through eloquent speeches on the great danger of integration, which could lead to what they termed as ‘mongrelization’ of the whites. ...
By the end of Reconstruction phase, which literally meant the rebuilding of the shattered nation after the devastating Civil Wars, the African Americans experienced their first taste of freedom and liberty from the oppressive Jim Crow Laws, and embarked on their sojourn to economical and political emancipation. Though the new amendments and enactments of law during the period emphasized the need for freedom and equality to the blacks, the process sustained a setback during the civil wars, pushing the blacks back again into the dark dungeons of slavery. This can be summed up by the remarks of Robert Richardson, former Confederate General that “the emancipated slaves own nothing. For nothing besides freedom has been given to them” (Chapter 15: “W hat Is Freedom? 473). However, it is the same slavery and suffering from discrimination that emboldened them to raise their voice and inspired them to fight for freedom. Garrison Frazier, a black Baptiste Minister, states that slavery means “one person’s receiving by irresistible power the work of another man, and not by his consent” and he defines freedom as “placing us where we could reap the fruits of our own labor and take care of ourselves” and further adds that this could be accomplished by having “land and turn it and till it by our own labor” (Chapter 15: “W hat Is Freedom? 440). This contention, in itself, sums up the aspirations of the African Americans about their yearning to break free of the shackles of slavery with their desire to acquire and own land and achieve prosperity. Besides, they also have had a rightful purpose to attain progress through their own hard work, enshrining in their lives the concepts of equality and liberty at par the other citizens. These revolutionary ideas
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He was the first African-American ever invited to visit the White House. However, this move evoked considerable outrage from the Southern whites. They regarded President’s invitation to a black as a serious breach of racial etiquettes. A member of the United States Senate, Benjamin Tillman, even threatened open violence by saying that, “Now that Roosevelt has eaten with that nigger Washington, we shall have to kill a thousand niggers to get them back to their places.” On the other hand, Northern newspapers applauded and anticipated the invitation by the President.
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The Jim Crow laws that were enacted during the 1890s were discriminatory laws that were based on the notion that the African Americans and the White Americans were two different groups within the society of the United States but they needed to be
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