HIST 222 AMU week 2 lesson Race and Politics at the end of the 19th century American Military University
Freedmen and women needed assistance to transition from slavery to freedom. Southern whites were uninterested in political and social change. By the end of Reconstruction, whites had redeemed themselves and regained power. This lesson will focus on the period after Reconstruction from 1876 into the early twentieth century. During this period Southern states legally disfranchised African Americans and passed Jim Crow laws to racially segregate all public spaces. Some African Americans found solace and escape through the church. Others became successful working within the system.
Topics to be Covered:
- Colored Farmers’ National Alliance
- Populist Party
- Poor white and black political participation
- Enfranchisement with Grandfather Clause
- Failed Federal Elections Bill
- Jim Crow racial segregation
- Plessy v. Ferguson
- Southern racial etiquette
- Extralegal violence
- Convict Leasing
- Segregated Schools
- African–Americans and church
- African American soldiers, professionals and athletes
During Reconstruction, over 2,000 African Americans were elected to public office, from local level to US Senate. Post-Reconstruction racial motivations prompted gerrymandering throughout the South to redraw
districts in order for the Democratic Party to regain and retain control for all levels (local, state, national) of political office. This system and the creation of new state constitutions allowed Democrats to oust African
American and white Republicans and dominate southern politics from late nineteenth century up to the time of the Civil Rights Movement.
Democrats Resent Black Participation in Politics
Black participation in politics survived the end of Reconstruction, but was systematically eroded through legal and extralegal measures. Democrats, led by wealthy landowners and supported by white yeomen farmers, became more militant in the late nineteenth century. The party came to resent even the limited participation of black people in politics that the older generation of more conservative, paternalistic wealthy white Southerners had allowed.
SEPARATE ORGANIZATIONS FOR WHITES AND BLACKS
SUPPORT FOR WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN
BRYAN’S DEFEAT AND THE END OF THE POPULIST PARTY
ATTEMPTS TO RESTRICT VOTING RIGHTS STATE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTIONS
FEDERAL ELECTIONS BILL
Following the end of Reconstruction and Redemption of Southern whites, political leaders sought to reform voting rights in order to disenfranchise African American voters. This task had to be approached with the understanding that they could not violate the Fifteenth Amendment, which gave all men the right to vote regardless of race. Throughout the South, states passed literacy tests, poll taxes, and reinvigorated property qualifications to restrict the privilege of voting. These amendments disfranchised many poor people, regardless of race. Neither poor whites nor blacks owned property, and many could not pay the poll tax and were less literate. In 1882, South Carolina passed the Eight Box Law, which placed power in hands of white poll workers who could assist illiterate white voters and ignore black voters.