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This Far by Faith

Journeys

Timeline

People

About the Series
Discussions

1526-1775: from AFRICA to AMERICA1776-1865: from BONDAGE to HOLY WAR1866-1945: from EMANCIPATION to JIM CROW1946-1966: from CIVIL RIGHTS to BLACK POWER1967-TODAY: from CRISIS, A SEARCH FOR MEANINGTODAY: The Journey Continues
1526-1775: from AFRICA to AMERICA1776-1865: from BONDAGE to HOLY WA
1866-1945: from EMANCIPATION to JIM CROW
Next Journey
Reconstruction: Perseverance and Community through Faith 1946-1966: from CIVIL RIGHTS to BLACK POWER



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Timeline: 1866-1945 View Detailed Timeline
1946-1966: from CIVIL RIGHTS to BLACK POWER1967-TODAY: from CRISIS, A SEARCH FOR MEANINGTODAY: The Journey Continues
1946-1966: from CIVIL RIGHTS to BLACK POWER1967-TODAY: from CRISIS, A SEARCH FOR MEANINGTODAY: The Journey Continues



1866-1945: from EMANCIPATION to JIM CROW
Reconstruction: Perseverance and Community through Faith



"We want to treat (the confederates) kindly and live in friendship; yet I must say...that as soon as old things can be forgotten, or all things come common, that the Southern people will take us by the hand and welcome us to their respect and regard." --Henry McNeal Turner


The process called "Reconstruction" was a complex series of steps taken by the president, Congress, and the states in response to the chaos that followed the end of the Civil War. Four million freed people needed to be absorbed into the new economy, but the South had no economy; its means of production had been destroyed. Political systems needed to be recreated. Finally, blacks and whites alike had to get used to new ways of relating to each other.

Despite the intense hatred and threat of violence they confronted daily, freed blacks relied on their faith in God and support from ministers and churches in their effort to build a new South. They exercised their new rights as citizens by participating for the first time in the elections of 1867. They hoped that having the vote would ensure a redistribution of land, better schools, equal opportunity for jobs, and equal access to public facilities. During this period of "Political Reconstruction," over a hundred black ministers won election to legislative seats. Many tried to build political coalitions with their white partners, but it was clear that it was not to be.


The first colored senator and representatives.

"The first colored senator and representatives."


By 1870, white confederates began to prevail in the post-Civil War battle for political control of the South. The Supreme Court ruled that the 15th Amendment did not give blacks the right to vote; it just prevented them from being discriminated against. Virginia and North Carolina fell back into the hands of the Democratic Party. Georgia soon followed suit.

The staunch abolitionists of the Republican Party, including Charles Sumner, died. The abolitionist wing was replaced by Republicans more concerned about the industrial interests of the North than the cause of the freed people. On top of all this, the country fell into an economic depression.


Political cartoon with black man in prisoner's uniform, subservient to a white man, pointing to Ten Commandments tablets. Caption reads, "The Commandments of South Carolina: We've pretty well smashed that; but I suppose Massa Moses, you can get another one."

Political cartoon with black man in prisoner's uniform, subservient to a white man, pointing to Ten Commandments tablets. Caption reads, "The Commandments of South Carolina: We've pretty well smashed that; but I suppose Massa Moses, you can get another one."


Federal troops maintained a presence during the day, but at night, white militias terrorized blacks and their white allies. Caricatured images of blacks in Southern journals portrayed them as uncivilized beings with wanton appetites. These images even began appearing in Northern journals like Harper's Weekly, which had been on the side of the abolitionists before the war. As the battle between confederates and reconstructionists grew in the south over the next seven years, so did northern fatigue with the whole situation. Then, in 1876, federal troops were withdrawn from the south as the result of a deal Andrew Hayes made in order to win a tight presidential race.

For the freed people it must have felt, once again, as though they had been cast into the wilderness. There they were, at the mercy of their former slavemasters, surrounded by poor whites who still felt that blacks were not fully human. But instead of collapsing, they turned within and built one of the most powerful institutions in the United States: the Black Church.




People of Faith


 Henry Mcneal Turner
Henry Mcneal Turner

 Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth


Did You Know?



White southerners called the end of Reconstruction "Redemption."
more


The first vote in which emancipated blacks participated was in 1867.
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