When black men are given the right to vote, they elect hundreds of black legislators to state and national offices, even though the elections are preceded by threats and violence. The new black politicians, like Mississippi's John Roy Lynch, pass ambitious civil rights and public education laws.
The 1866 Civil Rights Act
Congress passed the first law written to protect black Americans' rights amid turmoil and violence after the Civil War.
The 1875 Civil Rights Act
This law, designed to provide blacks with equal access to public accomodations, was a major Reconstruction achievement doomed to fail in a racist era.