Reconstruction Memorial How were African Americans affected by Amendments from Reconstruction?

The Reconstruction Era, lasting from 1865 to 1877, occurred as the Union found ways to readmit the former Confederate states into the government as well as attempted to enforce new civil rights laws for recently freed African Americans in the South. The Union's intentions however, were not always met as the southern states continued to defy new policies through implementing limitations against the African Americans as well as forming organizations meant to oppress them. Although many believe that the amendments from Reconstruction were the successful foundation for equal rights and African American freedom, there were still a lot of damages against the African American community that came with their rising equality.

14th Amendment

The 14th Amendment, ratified on July 9, 1868, stated that citizenship should be granted to "all citizens born or naturalized in the United States", which granted citizenship to the recently emancipated slaves. This citizenship impacted African Americans as it legally promoted the protection of civil rights to all Americans cited in this amendment, including African Americans. This amendment also forbids states from denying anyone of "life, liberty, or property, without due process of the law", again successfully promoting African American equality.

Jim crow Laws
Jim Crow Laws are an example of one of the biggest failures of the amendments of Reconstruction promoting African American equality. As a response to the 13th Amendment, many white citizens in the South resisted African American civil rights through the implementation of Jim Crow Laws, which limited he privileges of African Americans such as voting public services. This poster shows how many African Americans in the South were still rejected of their privileges despite the passing of the 14th Amendment later on. The bitterness against African Americans from the South continued after Reconstruction, showing the failure of the amendments' social implementation and enforcement.
15th Amendment
One lasting legacy from the amendments of Reconstruction includes the voting rights granted to African Americans from the 15th Amendment. The 15th Amendment explicitly 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". Even though there was much resistance from the South for almost a century due to implemented limitations such as literacy tests, the amendment nationally gives African Americans the right to vote, and led to future suffrage movements such as women suffrage.

Conclusion: Even though the Reconstruction Era was a time meant for improving African American civil rights through implementation of amendments, things did not turn out exactly how the amendments intended there to be. Just like in 21st century America, people always find loopholes to continue prejudices such as refusing certain gay rights. Just as in Reconstruction with black codes and Jim crow laws, Americans today are implementing rules against gay rights. However, just as the Reconstruction had many successes with African American rights such as voting rights, there were successes in gay rights such as gay marriage rights. Overall, the amendments from Reconstruction, just like many other civil rights movements, had both successes and failures, but promoted a lasting legacy for more civil rights movements.

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