The surrender of General Robert E. Lee at the Appomattox Courthouse on April 9th, 1865 marked the end of the Civil War. In an attempt to restore the Confederate states and unite them back into the Union, an era known as the Reconstruction Era began. The legislations enacted during this era were all intended to promote equality and justice for the African Americans. In what ways did the 15th amendment impact the lives of African Americans? Although some may argue that the 15th amendment didn't have much impact because of the negative reactions, it did dramatically changed the lifestyle of African Americans by granting them the right to vote and hold positions.
The 15th amendment was a successful part of the Reconstruction. This is because it benefited the lives of the African Americans by giving them the right to vote. Specifically, the 15th amendment states that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." This shows the federal government's effort to integrate African Americans into society and giving them a chance to have their voices be heard. This eventually lead to them holding certain government positions.
A part of the Reconstruction Era which failed wold be the violent reactions or laws created by the southerners who dislike the creation of the 15th amendment. For example, the Jim Crow Laws were created to prevent Africans from gaining equal rights. More specifically, they incorporated unfair tests and requirements for the Africans to take if they wanted to vote. Another example includes the severe case of segregation that begins. From seats on the bus to bathrooms and water fountains, the Jim Crows Laws strongly emphasized white supremacy while preventing the Africans from ever gaining the same rights. This is regarded as a failure of the Reconstruction because the 15th amendment provoked the creation of the Jim Crow Laws which infringed upon Africans' rights.
A strong legacy that the Reconstruction definitely left behind was the creation of the Klu-Klux-Klan because it impacted the lives of African Americans the most. Klu-Klux-Klan was a white supremacist organization that was against the civil rights of given to the African Americans. Often through cruel and brutal methods such as murder and hanging, the KKK represented the hatred of freed Africans. Although the KKK Act was passed by Congress in 1871 to stop the group's terrorizing actions, its legacy lived on where the whites continued to be at a higher social class than the African Americans. KKK was the strongest legacy left behind the Reconstruction era due to the feeling of white supremacy and segregation that continued long after the Reconstruction.
In conclusion, the 15th amendment impacted the lives of African Americans in both positive and negative ways. For example, while the African Americans were able to vote and hold office positions, they received cruel treatments from the negative reactions of the Southerners such as the murders and rapes by the KKK. This is very similar to current unfair and cruel treatment that African Americans are receiving from American police officers. Unfortunately, such stereotypes of black people leads to many conflicts, such as the shooting of Michael Brown. Therefore, these positive and negative effects of the 15th amendment illustrates the changes in the lives of African Americans.