APUSH Reconstruction/ Civil Rights Movement essay

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Sherman’s Special Field Order 15
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Set aside the Sea Islands and a large area along SC and GA coasts for the settlement of black families on forty acre plots of land. Also offered them broken-down mules that the army could no longer use. -phrase \”40 acres and a mule\” derived from this.
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Freedom to blacks
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Freedom meant escaping numerous injustices such as slavery, punishment by whip, separation of families, denial of education, sexual exploitation, and most importantly sharing the rights and opportunities provided to American citizens
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Families in Freedom
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Institutions that had existed before the war like the black family, free blacks’ churches and schools, and the secret slave church, were strengthened, expanded, and freed from white supervision. Family played central role in post-emancipation era- many efforts to try to locate loved ones who had been separated via slave trade. Also entrenched traditional gender roles and positions.
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Church and School
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Blacks created own churches. Black ministers came to play a large role in politics. Thirst for learnign led blacks to flock to the schools established by northern missionary societies/ nation’s first black colleges created such as Fisk University, Hampton Institute, and Howard University
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Political Freedom
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Right to vote became core issue to blacks. Believed that slavery not abolished until the black man could vote.
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Lincoln’s 10% Plan
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Offered an amnesty and full restoration of rights, including property except for slaves, to nearly all whites southerners who took an oath affirming loyalty to the Union and support for emancipation. Very lenient
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Freedman’s Bureau
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Under the direction of O. O. Howard, a graduate of Bowdoin College in Maine and a veteran of the Civil War, Bureau took on daunting responsibilities. Bureau agents were suppose to estabish schools, provide aid to the poor and aged, settle disputes between whites and blacks and among freepeople, and secure equal treatment for former slaves. Lasted from 1865-1870. Made striking achievements in health care and education. Johnson ordered all federal land to be returned to whites (those on Sherman’s land). No land distribution took place perpetuating poverty for propertyless blacks.
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Failure of land reform
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Led to poverty rates for blacks and forcing them to work in farm labor, unskileld labor, and service kobs. (wages too low to accumulate).
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Plight of Yeoman Farmers
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Suffered drastic economic consequences. Forced to undergo the \”crop lien\” system which was a system in which formers were to take up the growing of cotton and pledge a part of the crop as collateral (property the creditor can seize if a debt is not paid). Planted cotton to obtain new loans. Interestinly more white than black sharecroppers.
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Urban South
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Cities experienced remarkable growth
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One of greatest political crises in U.S. history
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Battle b/w President Johnson and congress over Reconstruction policies.
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Black codes
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What aroused the most opposition to Johnson’s Reconstruction policy were the black codes, laws passed by the new southern governments that attempted to regulate the lives of the former slaves. These laws granted blacks certain rights, such as legalized marriage, ownership of property, and limited access to the courts. But the denied them the right to testify against whites, to serve on juries or state militias, or to vote. Also declared that those who failed to sign yearly labor contracts could be arrested or hired out to white landowners. Some states barred backs from acquiring land and certain occupations
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South resistance
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Inability to accept the legitmacy of emancipation
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Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens
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Most prominent Radicals in congress were Sumner and Stevens both of which favored black suffrage. Stevens most cherished aim was to confiscate the land of disloyal planters and divide it among former slaves.
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Divide of republicans
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Most were moderates. The minority were radicals. Moderates believed that Johnson’s plan was flawed but they desired to work with him to modify it.
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14th amendment
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Citizenship for all people born in the U.S. and equal protection of the law. Amendment offered the South a choice: allow black men to vote and keep their state’s full representation in the House of Reps or limit the vote to whites and sacrifice part of their political power. In a compromise the amendment was passed but black suffrage was not included. (States decided whether or not blacks could vote).
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Reconstruction Act of 1867
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Congress adopted the act which temporarily divided the South into five military districts and called for the creation of new state governments with black men given the right to vote.
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15th Amendment
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In 1869 it approved the 15th amendment which prohibited the federal and state government from denying any citizen the right to vote because of race. Bitterly opposed by the democratic party, it was ratified in 1870.
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Suffrage restrictions
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Literacy tests, property qualifications, and poll taxes all employed which made it almost impossible for blacks to vote.
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Women’s rights
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The 15th amendment caused a split in the feminist movement. Stanton and Susan Anthony opposed the amendment because it did not encompass women while other members such as Abby Kelly and Lucy Stone insisted that the reconstruction amendments represented steps in the direction of truly universal suffrage.
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Black Officeholders
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Some 2,000 blacks occupied public offices during reconstruction which represented a fundamental shift in power however not nearly as many blacks controlled Reconstruction politics as opponents frequently charge
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Reconstruction achievements
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Establishment of the South’s first state supported public school system serving both blacks and white although usually in segregated schools. Also civil rights legislation implemented, and helped the South recover economically
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Klu Klux Klan
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Most notorious organization which served as a military arm of the Democratic Party in the South. Was a terrorist organization led by planters, merchants, and Democratic party politicians. Launched a \”reign of terror\” against Republican leaders, black and white.
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Colfax, LA
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Bloodiest act of violence in which the town was assaulted by whites with a cannon.
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Federal Gov Intervention
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Put a stop to the KKK with the passage of 3 enforcement acts and the dispatching of troops
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Force Act
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Helped protect the voting rights of African Americans. Also aimed at limiting the activities of the KKK.
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Plessy v. Ferguson
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Supreme Court case in 1896 which ruled that the law requiring railroads to provide equal but separate accomodations for the white and colored races did not violate the 14th amendment (created that doctrine of separate but equal and sparked the Jim crow laws)
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Jim Crow Laws
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Laws aimed at separating the races: laws forbade marriage b/w blacks and whites and established many other restrictions on social and religious b/w the races
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NAACP
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Since 1909 fought to end segregation. Charles Hamilton Houston was the influential figure in this campaign. He was a brilliant professor who trained trained law students. He placed the team under Thurgood Marshall
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Thurgood Marshall
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Over the next 23 years, 29 out of 32 cases argued before the Supreme Court were won including Brown v. Board of Education, his most stunning victory
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Brown v. Board of Education
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In Topeka, Kansas, in which the court responded to a brilliant legal brief written by Marshall that addressed segregated education. Case regarding Linda Brown, a 9 year old who had to walk and take a long bus ride to attend a black school rather than attend a white school right near her house. The Court’s decision written by chief justic Earl Warren stated that separating by races ingrains the notion of inferiority and that separate educational facilitie are inherently unequal. Case struck down de jure segregation.
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Southern Manifesto
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More than 90 southern members issued this which denounced the Brown decision and called on the states to resist it by all lawful means.
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Crisis in little rock
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1948, Arkansas had become the first southern state to admit African Americans to the state universities without being required by a court order. Elizabeth Eckford failed to be escorted to school and was mobbed by angry whites. In order to maintain the safety of the 9 members integrating little rock central high school, Eisenhower ordered federal troops to escort them daily.
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Orval Faubus
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Governor of Arkansas who was pro segregation and shut down the little rock h.s after black students integrated into it
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Civil rights act 1957
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First civil rights act since reconstruction which gave the attorney general greater power over school desegregation and gave the federal government authority to act upon violations of African American voting rights
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Rosa Parks
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(plotted/ planned out affair) refused to move when a bus driver instructed her and others to get out of their seats and allow whites to have them. She was arrested but sparked a boycott of buses in the process. (NAACP officer)
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Montgomery Bus Boycott
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African americans boycotted buses for 381 days remaining nonviolent and walking or carpooling to get to places. In late 1956 the Supreme Court outlawed bus segregation in response to a lawsuit filed by the boycotters.
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SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference)
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Led by MLK after the boycott ended with the purpose of carrying out nonviolent crusades throughout the south
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SNCC (Student nonviolent coordinating committee)
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Ella Baker helped students at Shaw University organize this organization in which college students felt progress was moving too slow and wanted to speed up the process. One of the most important student activist movements in the nation’s history. Wanted a more confrontational strategy than MLK proposed.
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CORE (a part of SNCC?)
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Staged the first \”sit-ins\” in which blacks sat down at segregated lunch counters in Chicago and refused to leave until they were served.
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Freedom riders
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An attempt to test the Supreme Court’s decisions banning segregated seating on bus routes reasoning that if they provoked violent reactions, the Kennedy administration would have to enforce the law. Faced angry mobs and were brutally beaten
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Protests in Birmingham
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Sparked by Eugene Bull Connor, the extremely racist and brutal police commissioner and his men
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Freedom rider success
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The violence promoted the exact response they were looking for as Kennedy took actions as a result
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James Meredith
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Won a federal court case that allowed him to enroll in the all-white university of mississippi (Ole Miss). President Kennedy ordered federal marshals to escort Meredith to the resister’s office
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MLK’s letter from a birmingham jail
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\”We will not wait\”
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Bull Connor
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Known for his usage of high powered hoses, attack dogs, and clubs, to stifle peaceful protests
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Governor George Wallace
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Governor of Alabama who failed to allow the desegregation of the U of A.
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March to Washington
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About 250,000 set forth on a walk to the nation’s capital where MLK spoke his I have a dream speech
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Civil Rights Act of 1964
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Signed by Johnson which prohibited discrimination because of race, religion, national origin, and gender. Gave all citizens the right to enter libraries, parks, washrooms, restaurants, theaters, and other public accommodations.
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Freedom Summer
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Robert Moses played a large role in trying to get blacks the vote. SNCC’s project to help influence congress to pass the voting act
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MFDP (Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party)
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Fannie Lou Hamer won the honor of speaking for the MFDP at the convention
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Selma- Montgomery march
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600 protestors were met with tear gas and whipped with clubs. This forced Johnson to act and eventually led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
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Voting Rights act of 1965
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Act eliminated the literacy tests that had disqualified so many voters. 60% eligible voters by 1968.
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De facto v. de jure segregation
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Segregation that exists by practice, customs, attitudes, etc. versus segregation that exists by law. (De jure much easier to handle)
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White flight
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Whites flee an area highly concentrated with blacks to avert the risk of decreasing house value and move to the suburbs
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Watts riot
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Police who were arresting a young man for drunk driving argued with the suspect’s mother which led to a riot killing 34 people and destruction of $30. One of the worst race riots in the nation’s history
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White response
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Confused as to why all of this violence was still occurring despite the blacks securing \”equal\” rights or at least the promise for equal rights
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Malcolm X
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Studied the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, the head of the Nation of Islam or the Black Muslims. Pro violence for self defense and believed in a more confrontational strategy than MLK. He broke away from the Nation of Islam to form his own group and traveled to Mecca which changed his views drastically. This sparked his \”ballots or bullets\” slogan but he believed that ballots should first be tried. Malcom X was shot at the age of 39
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Black Panthers
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Political party founded by Newton and Seale to fight police brutality in the ghetto. Many wore black berets, leather jackets, etc. Believed power flows out of the barrel of the gun
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Kerner Commission
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Johnson’s study which pinpointed white racism as the problem causing riots. Also two societies emerging (black and white)
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Civil rights act of 1968
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Law that banned discrimination in housing
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Affirmative action
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Involved making special efforts to hire or enroll groups that have suffered from discrimination in the past
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24th amendment
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Ended the poll tax in elections

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