Menu

Segregation and Disenfranchisement of AfricanAmericans from 1875 to 1900

0 Comment

These segregations and disenfranchisement were witnessed in both the Southern and Northern states (Andrews 54). After the American Civil war in 1870, the endorsement of the Fifteenth Amendment on the American constitution followed, preventing any state from denying any male citizen the right to vote based on racial prejudgments. The African American community made up the majority population in states such as Mississippi and Louisiana besides forming a sizeable population in other former Confederate states. The whites in these states resisted the rights of the freedman to exercise political power, will, and right. The whites feared black dominance and practised violence, assassinations, and intimidation to thwart the efforts of the freedman to participate in active politics in the last quarter of the 19th century. Consequently, Black voting reduced remarkably in most Southern States giving white democrats a chance to regain control of the political offices of the region (Rable 103). This research attempts to retrace the developments that took place concerning segregation and disenfranchisement of African Americans from 1875 to 1900. Segregation and Disenfranchisement of African-Americans (1875-1900) In 1875, the Congress approved the first Civil Rights Act that assured the black community equal rights in restaurants, theatres, juries and transportation. The law was however brought down in 1883 on court orders, with the court taking the stance that the Constitution mandates the Congress to act only on discrimination by government and not by citizens. Besides the court system, there were other forces that adamantly fought to ensure the African American Community did not exercise their right to vote. For example, a paramilitary group called the Red Shirts, formed in Mississippi 1875, fought against racial equality in North and South Carolina (DuBois 26). It was a well organized and open society consisting of armed confederate soldiers that worked for political aims. This group intended to remove the republicans from office and scare the freedmen to keep them from voting. The Red Shirts was just one of the groups in the Southern States that were determined to keep the black community away from the polls and ensure a white democratic took over the southern governments in the elections of 1876 (Kousser 85). The other example that highlight racial segregation in late 19th century was the Battle of Little Big Horn, which the Cheyenne Indians and Sioux won 1876 with the killing of General Custer George. This battle was a consequence of continued violation of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty that saw white Americans move in droves to seek gold in the Black Hills. This was an intrusion into African American territory and invasion of property. In the political spheres, the election of President Rutherford Hayes in 1877 saw Reconstruction grind to a stop. Most of the federal soldiers in the south were withdrawn and those that remained did little to protect the rights of the African American Community. This year also witnessed the return of the ‘home rule’ to the previously secessionist states. With the return of this rule began the rekindling of white supremacy, racial segregation, and disenfranchisement of the freedman. As a result, strikes and sit-ins were organized with the first national strike occurring in this period. This violent strike that was directed at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad company saw the death of 19 people (DuBois 39). The