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Despite the gains of the Civil war, the white regimes that emerged started putting the freed slaves in a low place in the scheme and hierarchy of the society. This dates back to the period between 1863 and 1931. Even though it turned out to be one of the bloodiest historical conflicts, the American Civil War did not completely deal with the issue of the American Negro. Instead, the States from the Southern region resisted any attempts that were made by the newly reformed federal government to give freedom to the black slaves who had been freed. The whites in the south denied the freed slaves equality. Throughout the South in the period between 1863 and 1931, quite a number of racial groups evolved whose intention was to terrorize the slaves who had been freed (Blackmon, 2008). They further purposed to deter them from participating in elections. Actually, by the beginning of the 20th century, every Southern State had enacted laws that limited the rights of voting among the freed slaves.
The initial flurry of the civil rights that had been given to the freed slaves after the Civil War was consequently converted into a regime that spread racial segregation throughout the United States. The whites from the South believed that their lives had much more value and worth than that of their so called previous dehumanized African-American slaves and this cycle of racial discrimination started with the restriction of the South and the often disregard of the federal laws of the United States. Even though the results of the Civil War saw some major amendments to the constitution of the United States, the Southern States carried on their oppression to the former African-American slaves using their power of politics. The resolution of the Civil War led to three major amendments to the Constitution. These amendments enforced what was sought to guarantee the equality of all people (Hahn, 2004). These were the changes that the Founding Fathers of the America fought for.
The fight for the notion that “…all men are equal…” seemed to go to the drain at the South. It was more than a period of half a century before Lincoln became the president. All the same, the states in the south merely ignored the constitutional amendments and any other ratified federal laws. They instead passed their laws governing their states that merely sought to limit the rights of the freed slaves. These repressive decrees and bylaws were referred to as the Black Codes and the main intention was to ensure that the Freed African-American slaves were denied the most rudimentary liberties and civil rights. As Thomas Henderson, a freed African-American slave said about the Black Codes, “…we might have begun with something, but it’s being taken away again…” The South imposed authoritarian civil rights restrictions such as the Black Codes on the freed slaves and they also used the law to prevent the African-Americans from participating in elections (Hahn, 2004). This is something that the fifteenth amendment had sought to make equal.
Most of the Southern states manipulated the whole concept of legislation in order to continue with developing themselves. Ultimately, increasing numbers of freed African-American slaves lost their voting rights. For instance, in Louisiana, there were over one hundred and fifty thousand African-American voters, but after the voting rights were infringed for the entire African-American population, the number of African-American voters after 1898 dropped to a only five thousand. Some of the short gains of equality that were realized after the Civil War were denied and taken away fro the African-Americans through the manipulation of law and legislation matters by the Southern States (Blackmon, 2008).
Thus, the white population from the Southern States manipulated the law in order to oppress the free African-American slaves between 1863 and 1931. There were also a number of racial groupings that emerged and resorted to aggression and violence to gain control of the American Negro. Terror reigned in the Southern states of the United States of America. This was facilitated by the groups that were against the African-Americans. They anti-African-America groups included the Ku Klux Klan and the White Knights. The main purpose of these groups was to terrorize the African-Americans completely and also make sure that they did not participate in the election process (Hahn, 2004).
The whites from the South continued their oppression on the African-American neighbors with the rise of the racist communities and with a lot of revulsion. This led to unparalleled degrees of racial hatred and tension. A member of the Ku Klux Klan said that their main and most important objective was to maintain supremacy of the white race. Ideally, it was in their best interest to rule over the inferior races. The South kept on treating the freed African-American slaves in unequal terms. There was increased African-American lynching annually. The racist societies and groups of the South continued to apply their shock tactics to scare the African Americans into subjugation. They also did that through resorting to aggression that made it possible for them to continue with their racial oppression. The racial hatred and tension that originated in the South coupled with the manipulation of the federal laws led to a lower status in the society for the freed African-Americans. They completely lost most of the civil rights that they gained following the end of the Civil war. There was very little left for consolation for the African-American population (Blackmon, 2008).
Response by the Freed Slaves
The Jim Crow laws, economic hardships and lynching made life difficult for the African Americans. Indeed, nothing very little had improved from their previous precarious condition. Therefore, from the start of the 1890s all the way to the 1970s, there was a great migration from the South towards the West and North. This is the main way through which the African Americans responded to the oppression in the south. This changed the democratic structure of the United States. The freed African Americans went back to the land of promise, the North. They went northwards in search of racial toleration and in search of jobs as well. All the same, such basic demands by the African Americans fueled the increasing discussion concerning their position in the predominantly white America in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
As early as the 1870s, many African Americans moved to states like Kansas, Texas and other areas that were predominantly rural. The main reason for their move was for them to escape the negative treatment that they received from the South despite the abolition of slavery after the Civil War. By the 1890s, an increasing number of African Americans were going further and further from their homeland since the time of the Civil War. An estimated 250,000 African Americans migrated to the North for a period of twenty years from 1890. At the same time, about 35,000 of the African Americans moved towards the West. This came to be regarded as the Great Migration (Schultz, 1999).
The great migration led to a dramatic increase of the African Americans who moved from the South between 1910 and at the beginning of the 1920s. About 300,000 and a million African-Americans migrated to the north during this time. This was largely occasioned by the southern oppression. By the year 1960, more than six million African Americans from the south migrated to the North. There were no insurrections that took place at this time from the African Americans. At least, things were somehow different in North from the experience in the South for the African Americans (Blackmon, 2008). The Civil war had at least revolutionarized the North and some parts of the West. The oppression at the South was becoming unbearable and therefore the African Americans’ last resort was to migrate from the South towards the North and some parts of the West in the United States.