Life During Reconstruction

Essay by afelton1906College, UndergraduateA, October 2007

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Following the Civil War, we entered a period of rebuilding known as “The Reconstruction.” They say the states had fought so hard against each other and realized that they needed to reunite. This was not going to be an easy task. During this continuous process we are introduced to sharecropping, the “Black Codes,” and what we all knew to be our new lives as a result of the war. It is as much a growing process for us blacks as it is the whites; hopefully we will all just get along.

I grew up in South Georgia down on the state line near the old swamps. The period of reconstruction was filled with uncertainty for my family and me. Having once relied on the free labor of us slaves to produce economic wealth, the plantation owners now found themselves without worker. Politically, really did not know what was really going on.

We only knew what we were told by the small number of blacks who were educated and the white abolitionists, and that was that results seem to be moving more in our favor. Everything else that was important we were told or either taught about in the local church. The church was our main source of education as far as what was going on in our society today. Without the church we would have been lost and abandoned by society; there would have been no way for us to keep up with the steadily changing world.

Life after slavery was not easy at all. We thought once we were freed live would be, “A piece of cake.” The ones of us who were freed were equally distressed, as we did not own land or have jobs to sustain them. Many of us were uneducated and lacked skills. Far too...