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“Explain how freedoms for African Americans were socially, politically, and economically limited from 1865 to 1 900? ” Although the Thirteenth Amendment had outlawed slavery, it was clear that the Black codes were stilled a problem to many freedmen. The Black codes, which passed soon after the Call War ended, helped maintain a cheap source of farm labor and sustained the social hierarchy. These codes made it illegal for African Americans to carry weapons or vote.

They could not serve on juries, testify in court against or marry white citizens, or travel without permits. The Black codes weren’t completely one until 1868 when the 14th amendment was ratified. Not many other extreme problems occurred until the end of the 19th century when the Jim Crow laws emerged. Jim Crow laws were racial segregation laws that separated white citizens and African Americans In schools, hospitals, parks, and on railroads. Segregated Southern schools gave white students new textbooks and clean, well-lighted facilities, whereas African Americans had to make do with torn, out-of-date books. Often several grades of African American students were crowded into a single room. Economic conditions at the end of the 19th century were an obstacle to improvement or African Americans. During the Civil War, countries deprived of cotton from the South had begun to grow their own cotton. By the time production resumed In the South, market prices had been cut in half.

Banks that had loaned money to the Confederate government could not collect their debts. Credit became increasingly hard to obtain. An economic panic in 1873 led to the closure of some banks. Railroad companies went out of business, and the stock market collapsed. For many African Americans there was little choice. To remain In the South was to face poverty, violence, and discrimination. Leaving the South seemed to be the only option. African Americans faced segregation and discrimination In many northern cities as well.

Labor union leaders who did not want them as members because they feared the African Americans would take their jobs, real estate agents kept them from buying homes in particular neighborhoods, business owners hired African Americans only if no other labor source was available, and African American workers were often the first ones fired when business slowed. In 1866 terrorist groups devoted to white supremacy started to prevent African Americans from exercising their new political rower by intimidating voters, burning schools, and destroying homes of both black and sympathetic white citizens.

The most terrifying tactic of all was public hanging for an alleged offense without benefit of trial, which struck fear into the African American community. Southern states passed laws that increased racial discrimination. Literacy tests and poll taxes were used to keep black voters away from ballot boxes. Often, white voters were given easier passages than African Americans test. African American voters were also kept from voting through poll taxes. This annual tax was required to be paid before a vote could be cast.

Sharecroppers often did not have enough money to pay the tax and then therefore could not vote. For white sharecroppers, many Southern states created a grandfather clause. It stated that anyone whose father or grandfather had been eligible to vote before January 1, 1867 was guaranteed the right to vote. Angered freedmen and sympathetic whites said that they violated the Fifteenth Amendment, which promises that the right to vote cannot be denied on the basis “of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. ”


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