Emancipation & Reconstruction

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Chronology of Emancipation during the Civil War
Chronology of Emancipation during the Civil War
Brief chronology detailing the process by which slavery was incrementally destroyed.
Freedmen & Southern Society - Sample Documents
Freedmen & Southern Society - Sample Documents
Primary source documents from 1860s & 70s that reveal the impact of war and emancipation.
Black Codes 1865-1866
Black Codes 1865-1866
George Washington University site dealing with each southern state's attempt to maintain a racial hierarchy in the face of the abolition of slavery. It was these local codes that led the Federal Government to take radical action leading to the military occupation of the South.
Reconstruction: The Second Civil War
Reconstruction: The Second Civil War
PBS website with useful sources, maps and analysis. A useful place to learn the basics.
Towards Racial Equality: Harper's Weekly Reports on Black America
Towards Racial Equality: Harper's Weekly Reports on Black America
News coverage, images and lesson plans covering the end of slavery, the civil war and Reconstruction. Full of analysis as to how black Americans responded to the challenges of the period.
Harpweek: The Creation of the 13th Amendment
Harpweek: The Creation of the 13th Amendment
An educational resource complete with a timeline, biographies and contemporary accounts on the passage of the Amendment.
Harpweek: The Creation of the 14th Amendment
Harpweek: The Creation of the 14th Amendment
Educational site mapping the torturous process which led to the passage of the 14th Amendment, enshrining citizenship rights for African Americans.
Harpweek: The Creation of the 15th Amendment
Harpweek: The Creation of the 15th Amendment
Timeline, documents and analysis on the passage of the last of the Reconstruction Amenedments that gave black men the vote.
The Freedmen's Bureau Online
The Freedmen's Bureau Online
Online archive containing state records from the Freedmen's Bureau and further sections on murders/lynchings, labor and marriages that may be useful in exploring the impact and effect of Reconstruction.
Reconstruction & its Aftermath
Reconstruction & its Aftermath
2-page Library of Congress site containing key images and documents from the Reconstruction era.
Jefferson F. Long, “Speech On Disorders In The South” (1871)
Jefferson F. Long, “Speech On Disorders In The South” (1871)
Jefferson Long, ex-slave and Congressman for Georgia (for only 3 months in place of the incumbent who had been barred from office) gave only one speech during that time: addressing the problem of Klan intimidation in his state.
Joseph Rainey, “Upon State Legislators of South Carolina" (1871)
Joseph Rainey, “Upon State Legislators of South Carolina" (1871)
Rainey was the second African American appointed to the US Congress during Reconstruction. Here he offers a rebuttal to a speech by a New York Democratic Party Representative who had attacked the ability of South Carolina's black state congressmen (the myth that black politicians were lazy and corrupt found its zenith in the film Birth of a Nation in 1915).
Senator Hiram Revels Calls For The End Of Segregated Schools (1871)
Senator Hiram Revels Calls For The End Of Segregated Schools (1871)
Hiram Revels was the first African American appointment to Congress during Reconstruction. Here he attacks the ongoing segregation of schools in the District of Columbia (controlled by Congress). The speech is one of the first to attack school segregation, but also makes clear that segregation was in practice long before Plessy v Ferguson (1896) gave such measures the backing of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Frederick Douglass, "On West Indian Emancipation" (August 1st, 1880)
Frederick Douglass, "On West Indian Emancipation" (August 1st, 1880)
This speech begins with a celebration of the emancipation of slaves in the West Indies. But Douglass then moves on to consider why Reconstruction in the United States had not been a success. As Douglass puts it "Our reconstruction measures were radically defective." But why? How did Douglass explain the problems?
Black Americans In Congress
Black Americans In Congress
Biographies of every serving congressman, historical essays, biographies and artifacts charting the work of elected and appointed black politicians. The site is in this folder for the material on Reconstruction-Era figures, but it also covers legislators well into the twentieth century.
Reconstruction in illustrations, cartoons, and photographs
Reconstruction in illustrations, cartoons, and photographs
A useful brief collection of contemporary photographs and editorial cartoons depicting some of the people and issues prominent during the period.