Published on March 6, 2014
Difficulties faced by African Americans after Reconstruction
After Reconstruction, Congress and the Supreme Court failed to protect the rights of African Americans. This caused African Americans to have to wait for over a century to gain full civil rights.
Founded as a social club for Confederate veterans in Tennessee in 1866. By 1868, the KKK existed in nearly every Southern state As membership spread, the Klan turned violent, with one main goal: to restore white supremacy To achieve this goal, members of the KKK tried to prevent African Americans from exercising their political rights. Klan members killed thousands of men, women, and children. They also burned schools, churches, and property.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment protected only the rights people had by virtue of their citizenship in the United States. Examples of these rights were the right of interstate travel and the right of federal protection when traveling on the seas. This ruling was not beneficial for African Americans, because it placed the responsibility of protecting civil rights on each of the individual states, not the federal government.
The Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not give the federal government the right to punish individual whites who oppressed blacks.
The Court ruled in favor of officials who had barred African Americans from voting. They said that the Fifteenth Amendment did not “confer the right of suffrage on anyone” but listed grounds on which states couldn’t deny suffrage. All of these cases made it to where the U.S. government did not have much power to protect the rights of African Americans.
Northerners began to grow indifferent to what was going on in the South as the Supreme Court rejected the Reconstruction policies in the 1870s. Northerners also sought peace within regions of the country. The African Americans in the South needed the support of the Northerners badly. Without the North, the former slaves had very little power, or none at all.
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