University of Maryland University Emancipation and Reconstruction Discussion

At the end of the Civil War, the issues that most white Americans had with slaves and slavery in general did not just fade away because the North had won the War. There were those who thought that the former slaves deserved the same rights as other Americans, while others thought that just because slavery had ended that did not make the former slaves equal to whites.

While Reconstruction made it possible for some black people to partake in the political system and establish schools and churches, many lacked land on which to subsist and the Freedman’s Bureau was of little assistance. Despite the passage of the 15th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1875, the Black Codes, Klu Klux Klan and the general attitude of many whites made life very difficult for the former slaves.

Discussion Question/response – 250 words min. Cite resources

1. Discuss the successes and failures of reconstruction and whether you believe that overall it assisted Blacks in their search for real freedom.


Chapter 6 of The Black Image in the White Mind: The Debate on Afro-American Character and Destiny, 1817-1914 “explores the new commitment of African Americans to the concept of full equality development, such as revision of traditional attitudes toward the interracial marriage. The chapter highlights the development Northern Reconstruction policy in 1866 and 1867 with regards to the rights of the Blacks.”

“The Civil Rights Acts were a series of laws passed by Congress during post-Civil War Reconstruction. The purpose of these laws was to define and defend the rights of formerly enslaved people and others in the United States.”

“The end of the Civil War forced the United States to grapple with integrating Black freedmen and freedwomen into the social order, and reformers turned to education as the primary mechanism through which that integration would occur. This entry describes the diverse values that shaped Black colleges founded in the decades following the Civil War. It also examines the ways in which those values were shaped by the individuals and organizations who contributed financial support for their establishment.”

“To assist the adjustment of newly freed slaves in the post–Civil War South, Congress in March 1865 established the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands under the leadership of General Oliver Otis Howard and the auspices of the War Department. Given an initial life of one year, the agency provided food, clothing, fuel, and medical treatment to destitute and dislocated freedpeople and white refugees.”

“After the North’s victory in the Civil War ended the institution of slavery, white Southerners began to design other ways to control the former slaves…. [The] Black Codes established after the Civil War were modeled closely after antebellum slave codes.”

This resource provides an overview of the Reconstruction period from 1862 to 1877.

Short illustrated article about Reconstruction and its aftermath. “The Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 freed African Americans in rebel states, and after the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment emancipated all U.S. slaves wherever they were. As a result, the mass of Southern blacks now faced the difficulty Northern blacks had confronted–that of a free people surrounded by many hostile whites.”Reconstruction and Its Aftermath, Parts One and Two

“The author discusses the history African American education in Montgomery County, Virginia, focusing on the Reconstruction period that followed the conclusion of the U.S. Civil War. Topics include the construction of schools, the superintendent Charles S. Schaeffer, the teacher Lucy Eastman, and social relations between white Virginians and African American Virginians.”

< a href="/order">