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The Troubled Past Essay

2527 words - 11 pages

The Troubled Past of U.S. African Americans
Annotated Bibliography
Jennette M. Bird
HIS:204 American History 1865-Present
Instructor Bruce Carruthers
January 13th, 2014

The Troubled Past of U.S. African Americans
As we move into the new century, our reliance on the past has never been more apparent to how we should proceed in the future. Our past experiences, in some respects, are still problems in the present. Throughout history, African Americans have struggled with equality. One question that still remains is: How can we (Americans) move forward while incorporating past experiences to overcome this ever pressing issue that has plagued the U.S. for so long? The ...view middle of the document...

There was a large portion of freedmen, especially in New Orleans, who owned property and had participated in the state militia before the American Civil War.
March of 1865, Unionist planter James Madison Wells, who originally was against black suffrage, became governor for Louisiana. As the past Confederate-dominated legislature passed the Black Codes, which restricted the rights of freedmen, Wells started a journey that would allow blacks the right to vote, and would temporarily disfranchise ex-Confederates. To accomplish this, he scheduled a convention for July 30, 1866. The convention was postponed however, because of the New Orleans Massacre that took place that day, in which whites that were armed attacked blacks hosting a parade in honor of the convention. Those attacks resulted in a death toll of 38, of which 34 were black, and the other four were white; and more than 40 other individuals were wounded, most of which were black. President Andrew Johnson blamed the massacre on an outraged Republican party, which resulted in a national backlash against his policies that led to voters electing a primarily Republican Congress in 1866. The Republican Congress attempted to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and also ended the Black Codes, which had previously limited the rights of freedmen and other blacks, including their choices on work and living locations. These events lead to one of the most horrific massacres in history, The Colfax Massacre.
The Colfax Massacre, or Colfax Riot, as the events were later named on a state historic marker in 1950, occurred on Easter Sunday, April 13, 1873, in Colfax, Louisiana. The events of that day took place at the seat of Grant Parish, during a confrontation between the two major opposing political forces, the Republicans and the Democrats. In the aftermath of the highly contested election in 1872 for the position of governor of Louisiana and local offices, a group of white Democrats, armed with rifles and a small cannon, overpowered Republican freedmen and state militia (also black) that were trying to control the Grant Parish courthouse in Colfax; white Republican officeholders were not harmed. Majority of the freedmen were later killed after their surrender; nearly 50 others were also killed later that night after being held captive for several hours. The numbers of the death toll were rumored to be ranging from 62 to 153; three whites were recorded dead, but the number of black victims was undetermined because several of the bodies were tossed into the river, or removed from the site for burial. It was rumored, that mass graves were located at the site. The massacre was described as the worst instance of racial violence during Reconstruction. In Louisiana, it had the highest fatalities of any of the numerous violent events following the disputed gubernatorial contest in 1872 between Republicans and Democrats.

A few decades later, more racial events found their way north to states such...

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