Following their victory in the Civil War, the North was quick to begin enforcing policies that would further liberate the black population from South's oppressive hold, among them being the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which was the first civil rights law in American. Also, the establishment of Freedmen's Bureau provided the former slaves with the support they needed in order to accumulate to society as citizens. However, the question is, did the rights and equality of African Americans actually matter to America? As proven through the formation of policies such as Black Codes, political corruption, and increasing segregation in most states, black people remained in shackles.
The 14th Amendment was one of the successes of the Reconstruction. It dictated that all people born and/or neutralized in this country were considered citizens, regardless of their race. This amendment provided former African American slaves with citizenship rights. Additionally, the law allowed equal protection under the constitution for all citizens. However, unfortunately, black people were not treated as such and the law was often left unenforced.
Following the Civil War, white people were often hesitant in allowing former slaves to join their society. Therefore, they adopted the concept of "Separate but equal" in which they supplied black people with utilities of their own, such as bathrooms, restaurants, and/or water fountains. Often times, the "Colored" facilities were quite inferior to that of the Whites. These laws were known as the Jim Crow Laws. These laws were one of the biggest failures of the Reconstruction, for it not only segregated African Americans, but it also forced them to regard themselves as less than their white counterparts.
The legacy left behind by the Reconstruction is that it is, in fact, a white man's government. Unfortunately, the minority do not have as much of a say in the government decisions as the privileged, white man. During the Reconstruction, white males controlled voter turnouts (due to voter fraud), the media, and even the decision of life and death (the KKK). And the privileged were able to carry out these actions by walking all over the former African American slaves and their right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
Even though much has changes since the Reconstruction Period, the minority still have little say in society. However, similar to the Reconstruction, efforts to increase the rights of black people were made in the 1960's, through the Civil Rights Movement. People such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks took revolutionary actions in order to speak up for the rights of their people. And while the Civil Rights Movement may not have been a direct failure, African Americans still suffer from violence and discrimination to this day. Therefore, due to the increasing support of racist policies, political corruption, and increased segregation, the Reconstruction failed to give and enforce rights to African Americans.