Following the Civil War minorities especially African-Americans felt great hope for immediate equality. When the thirteenth amendment which abolished slavery was ratified many minorities felt that they would be given equal rights. This wasn't going to be the case for a long time to come. State laws were put into effect that mandated segregation. These laws had the backing of the Supreme Court. Hispanics and Asians were no exception to the law. The poorest of poor white people were considered better than minorities.
By the end of the nineteenth century all minorities and women's rights were being deferred. Sharecropping made it possible by keeping blacks dependent upon whites. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was overturned by the Supreme Court. This allowed for segregation and the usage of Jim Crow laws. These laws divided whites and minorities in the South. Furthermore, blacks were frightened of white mobs looking for blacks to murder.
At that time there were more lynching than there were actual executions by trial. Even in the North the blacks weren't treated any better.
In the case of Plessy vs Ferguson a doctrine was set that mandated a "separate but equal" clause. This further solidified segregation. During these times Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Harvard graduate William E.B. DuBois were advocate black representatives who spoke out against segregation. Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee Institute which taught blacks vocational skills. He was well respected by white industrialists. William E.B. DuBois rejected Washington's aim at vocational education. He felt that black people needed to look at the bigger picture. Although any change for the better for equality amongst all minorities and women seemed unlikely, hope was starting to arise.
"The Populist Challenge"
Near the end of the nineteenth century Democrats and Republicans had dominated politics. This would change in...