African Americans: The Loss and Gain of Freedom(1865-1900)
The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865. The period known after the war was
called Reconstruction. During Reconstruction (also called Radical Reconstruction), the
South was in economic, political, and social trouble. In 1865 Congress established the
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. This became known as the
Freedmen's Bureau. It was a bureau ran by the United States Army, with several field
agents that provided medical care, food, helped black and white refugees deprived by the
war to return home, and established schools.
Goals of the African-Americans were to secure physical protection from abuse
and local terror by local whites, equal civil rights, economic independence, and political
participation. During Reconstruction African Americans were given the right to vote, the
use of hospitals, right to an education, to become part of the legal system (sheriffs,
judges, jurors, and policemen), the right to get well paying jobs, and the right to own
land. African-Americans began to cut their ties to their slave owners, go into the towns
and cities to find jobs, and find lost family members. Besides securing land, education
was one of their top priorities. With the military came people to help run the occupied
states and teachers who wanted to educate African-Americans. These people were called
carpetbaggers by hostile southern whites. Southerners that worked with carpetbaggers
were called scalawags, In time scalawags became known as "white trash."
Over 1,000 schools were built, teacher-training institutions were created, and several
black colleges were founded and some were financed with the help of the Freedmen's
Bureau. The Freedmen's Bureau had inadequate funds, was unable to discontinue most
poverty, and it failed to prevent the emergence of the Black Codes. The bureau was
later terminated in 1872. In June 1866, Congress...