William Z. Foster, The Negro People in American History [New York:
International Publishers, 1973]
August Meier and Elliott Rudwick, From Plantation to Ghetto [ New York: Hill
and Wang, 1976]
General Reconstruction Text:
Peter Camejo, Racism, Revolution, Reaction, 1861—1877 [New York: Monad
James S. Allen, Reconstruction, The Battle for Democracy, 1865-1876 [New
York: International Publishers, 1937]
W.E.B. DuBois. Black Reconstruction in America. 1860-1880 [New York:
Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1863—1877
Other Related Materials:
Vernon Lane Wharton, The Negro in Mississippi, 1865-1890 [New York: Harper
Joel Williamson, After Slavery: The Negro in South Carolina During
Reconstruction. 1861-1877 [Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press,
Bell Irvin Wiley, Southern Negroes, 1861-1865 [New Haven: Yale University
John B. Boles, Black Southerners, 1619-1869 [Kentucky: The University of
Otis A. Singletary, Negro Militia and Reconstruction [New York: McGraw-Hill
Book Company, Inc, 1963]
W.R. Brock, An American Crisis: Congress and Reconstruction 18 65-18 67
James M. McPherson, The Negro's Civil War [ New York: Vintage Books, 1965]
Staughton Lynd, (ed.) Reconstruction [ NewYork: Harper & Row Publishers,
Edward Peeks, The Long Struggle for Black Power [New York: Charles Scribner
/The radicals had to destroy the provisional militias created after the Civil War. The fir^t / Reconstruction A^t ordered the abolitioii of all such militias in the South. Congress alsd 'i
required each stateXp approve the 14 amendment, which allowed males of all races, colors, or previous condition of seryftude to vote and serve as delegates.
end of the Civil Warxforced/ftie U.S. to deal with questions about slavery and the status of Black Americans XThi^ reunification of the nation was imperative as was the , assurance of the freedom of Macks and their rights/as~citizeiis had to be guaranteed. 71 his \ resulted in the passing of th/ee^amendments to the/Constitutiorfthat defined the place Of I Black freedmen in the life/of theVation.
amendment - state sxthat neither s
avery nor involuntary servitude, except
:rt/or crime, should ever exist tin the United States, amemlment - or citizenship rights amendment assured tha/no state kbrioge the rights of^ny^cjtizens of the United States or 'Deprive any person of/life, liberty, or property without d\\e process of law, "/or
an the equal protection of thetaws.
The 15™ arftendment^tated that the right oiciti^enstojierte should not be denied on account of race, color, or previous condition flfservituder—
How^ were the racist£_^thg_iefleerneiV^(KKK) able to break the alliance between progressive
whites of the south and African Americans? " ' •
The racists ex-confederates called progressive whites particularly progressive usually poor white men who worked with African-Americans in reconstructing the south, Scallywags. Now were called Scallywags meant more than "Nigger Lover," a term used from the 1880's to the present. The ex-confederates organized themselves into the KKK to terrorize black workers into insubordination by any means necessary. In order to do this they had a propaganda campaign of "political disguise," to win over the white community for their plan. They called themselves the "redeemers" which meant they were going to restore the south to white supremacy and protect "white womanhood "giving the false impression (lies) that African-American men were sexually abusing white women. For the Southern white male "Scallywag" meant that the progressive southern white male who supported the Republican party "reconstruction, was not protecting white womanhood and that he was in agreement of letting African-American men sexually abuse white women. This had tremendous psychological affects of isolating progressive whites in the south particularly progressive white men in the south. Calling whites from the north, Carpetbaggers had a similar affect and particularly on white males from the north who it was said their only reason for coming south was to gain money. The KKK's psychological war was "economic," to restore themselves into economic dominance. That's why it is called a counterrevolution. It was carried out by murdering 20,000 African-Americans in the south in a 15 year period of time and murdering and beating many progressive whites as well. This was done in the African-Americans community by killing large Africans-American male landowners first. Raping their wives; sometimes "gang rape" and then forcing the wives through intimidating to sell the land to a KKK member. This is how they got the "Stolen Land." Then the KKK would murder, "lynch" African-American businessmen who were successfully competing with white business' often the cry of raping of a white woman would kick off a lynch mob. Thirdly, the KKK came after the African-American politicians who were systematically murdered.
Describe aspects of progress achieved by Radical Reconstruction.
The radicals had to destroy the provisional militias created after the Civil War. The first Reconstruction Act ordered the abolition of all such militias in the South. Congress also required each state to approve the 14 amendment, which allowed males of all races, colors, or previous condition of servitude to vote and serve as delegates.
The end of the Civil War forced the U.S. to deal with questions about slavery and the status of Black Americans. The reunification of the nation was imperative as was the assurance of the freedom of Blacks and their rights as citizens had to be guaranteed. This resulted in the passing of three amendments to the Constitution that defined the place of Black freedmen in the life of the nation.
a. The 13th amendment - states that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as
punishment for crime, should ever exist in the United States.
b. The 14th amendment - or civil rights amendment assured that no state should abridge the
rights of any citizens of the United States or "deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property without due process of law," or
c. deny any person the equal protection of the laws.
d. The 15th amendment - stated that the right of citizens to vote should not be denied on
account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Andrew Johnson, successor to Abraham Lincoln, reinstated full rights to sessionist states even though they strongly opposed emancipation of the slaves and did everything possible to retain them in servitude.
The black codes had a —
1. grandfather clause — which stated if a man's grandfather had the right to vote
before 1860 he could vote; if not he could not vote. This eliminated most African-American men from voting.
African-Americans could not bear arms
interracial marriage was prohibited
African-Americans could not serve on juries
vagrancy laws — stated if an African-American (male) found loitering, not having a slip
signed by a white man, could be imprisoned indefinitely. More than often arrestees would
be "leased" by the state to former slavemasters under the prison lease system which could
continue for the rest of the natural life of the prisoner.
By 1866 the radical republicans lead by Charles Sumner in the Senate and Thaddeous
Stevens in the House of Representatives were defeated by one vote of finding Andrew
Johnson guilty of high crimes of impeachment. As compromise, the radical republicans
took over reconstruction (congressional committee of 15) and divided the south except
Tennessee into 5 military districts. Congress passed
The 13th and 14th Amendment and the Reconstruction Act in 1867, creating constitutional conventions in the South in which African-American men were allowed to participate.
What was the Southern Homestead Act?
In early 1866, Congress attempted to provide land for freedmen with the passage of the
Southern Homestead Act. More than three million acres of public land were set aside for black
people and southern white people who had remained loyal to the Union. Much of
the land, however, was unsuitable for farming and consisted swampy wetlands or unfertile pine
woods. More than four thousand black families — three quarters of them in Florida — did claim
some of this land, but many of them lacked the financial resources to cultivate it. Eventually
Southern timber companies acquired much of it, the Southern
From Darlene Clarke Hine, William A. Him and Stanley Harold, The African
American Odyssey [Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006] pp 294-295
A Bill Introduced by Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania. H.R. 29 First Session Fortieth Congress Marchl 1, 1867: A Plan for Confiscation. This bill was defeated.
Whereas it is due to justice, as an example of future times, that some proper punishment should be inflicted on the people who constituted the "confederate States of America,"
both because they, declaring an unjust war against the United States for the purpose of destroying republican liberty and permanently establishing slavery, as well as for the cruel and barbarous manner in which they conducted said war, in violation of all the laws of civilized warfare, and also to compel them to make some compensation for the damages and expenditures caused by the war: Therefore,
Be it enacted. . . That all the public lands belonging to the ten States that formed the government of the so-called "confederate States of America" shall be forfeited by said
Sec. 2. The President shall forthwith proceed to cause the seizure of such of the property belonging to the belligerent enemy as is deemed forfeited by the act of July 17, AD. 1862, and hold and appropriate the same as enemy's property, and to proceed to condemnation with that already seized.
Sec. 3. In lieu of the proceeding to condemn the property thus seized as enemy's property, as is provided by the act of July 17, AD. 1862, two commissions or more, as by him may be deemed necessary, shall be appointed by the President for each of the said "confederate States," to consist of three persons each, one of whom shall be an officer of the late or present Army, and two shall be civilian, neither of whom shall be citizens of the State for which he shall be appointed; the said commission shall proceed to adjudicate and condemn the property aforesaid, under such forms and proceedings as shall be prescribed by the Attorney General of the United States, where upon the title to said property shall become vested in the United States.
Sec. 4. Out of the lands thus seized and confiscated, the slaves who have been liberated by the operations of the war and the amendment of the Constitution or otherwise, who resided in said "confederate States" on the 4 day of March AD. 1861, or since, shall have distributed to them as follows, namely: to each male person who is the head of a family, forty acres; to each adult male, whether the head of a family or not, forty acres; to each widow who is the head of a family, forty acres; to be held by them in fee simple, but to be inalienable for the next ten years after they become seized thereof. For the purpose of distributing and allotting said land, the Secretary of War shall appoint in each State as many commissions as he may deem necessary, to consist of three members each, two of whom at least shall not be citizens of the State for which he is appointed. At then end often years the absolute title to said homesteads shall be conveyed to said owners or to the heirs of such as are then dead.
Sec. 5. Out of the balance of the property thus seized and confiscated there shall be raised, in the manner hereinafter provided, a sum equal to fifty dollars, for each homestead, to be applied by the trustees hereinafter mentioned toward the erection of buildings on the said homestead for the use of aid slaves; and the further sum of $500,000,000, which shall be appropriated as follows, to wit: $200,000,000 shall be invested in the United States six percent securities; and the interest thereof shall be semi annually added to the pensions allowed by law to the pensioners who have become so by reason of the late war: $300,000,000, or so much thereof as may be needed, shall be appropriated to pay damages done to loyal citizens by the civil or military operations of the government lately called the "Confederate States of America."
Sec. 6. In order that just discrimination may be made, the property of no one shall be seized whose whole estate on the 4 day of March A.D. 1865, was not worth more than $5,000, to be valued by the said commission, unless he shall have voluntarily become an officer or employee in the military or civil-service of the "Confederate States of America," or in the civil or military service of some one of said States, and in enforcing all confiscations the sum or value of $5,000 in real or personal property shall be left or assigned to the delinquent.
Sec. 8. If the owners of said seized and forfeited estates shall, within ninety days after the first of said publications, pay into the Treasury of the United States the sum assessed on their estates respectively, all of their estates and lands not actually appropriated to the liberated slaves shall be released and restored to their owners.
Sec. 9. All the land, estates and property, of whatever kind, which shall not be redeemed as aforesaid within ninety days, shall be sold and converted into money, in such time and manner as
may be deemed by the said commissioners the most advantageous to the United States: Provided, That no arable land shall be sold in tracts larger than 500 acres.
Congressional Globe, March 19, 1867, p. 203. from Raymond A. Winbush, Ph.D., Should America Pay? Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations [New York: Amistad, 2003, pp 334-336]
Progress under Radical Reconstruction:
Briefly what were some of the gains of radical reconstruction? Over a million African- Americans were given the right to vote. In ten southern states, 700,000 African- Americans men registered to vote. The number of African-American school pupils increased from 500 in 1866 to over 500,000 by 1877. In many southern states during the period there were laws passed in favor of integrated education. During this period 1863- 1875 some 160 black colleges were established through land grants from the Freedmen's Bureau. From 1868-1878, 1,465 African-American men held political office in the south. African-Americans elected 14 African-Americans to the House of Representatives and two to the Senate. It was not until the elections of 1992, did African-Americans surpass the political gains won during reconstruction.
What is the historical mistake African-Americans made during reconstruction?
In 1864, African-Americans formed the National Equal Rights League to fight against discrimination and encroachment against democratic rights. The Republican Party formed the Loyalist Leagues in the South. They were secretive, quasi-military groups, mostly African American and white businessmen and southerners who supported equality in the South. You knew who to vote for because the loyalist league told you. In 1877 there was the compromise and the Republicans would remain in power if they agree to move their troops out of the South. The African Americans did not support the National Equal Rights League. African Americans kept their loyalties to the Loyalist League. They needed dual organizational development. They needed their own organization to protect them in case a multi-racial ally did not stand by them. African Americans in the 1 860s
did not support their own self-organization and they relied on allies that looked like they were good allies. They forgot that allies change, but interests stay the same.
Counter revolution consolidation and sell-out:
They refused to employ African-Americans. The KKK and the White line movement were created. The KKK had 500,000 members in 1871. They committed assaults, robberies, arson, rape and murder. Terror and political intimidation helped to overthrow reconstruction. Many race riots were deliberately planned by leagues in retaliation against black militias. The whites also refused to employ African-Americans who voted.
The year 1870 marked the beginning of a period of reaction in the South. The ex confederates posed as liberals, organized racist designs secretly and at times pretended to be friends of the African-Americans people. Secretly and through the KKK and other racists groups murdered 20,000 African-Americans in a 15 year period of time. Operating "legally" through the Democratic Party; the victory of the democrats in the elections of 1874 in the northern states lead to a shared activation of the terrorist elements of the Democratic Party in the South11
The Civil Rights Acts of 1875
Before Reconstruction finally expired, Congress made one final ~ some said futile ~ gesture to protect black people from racial discrimination when it passed the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Strongly championed by Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, it was originally intended to open public accommodations including schools, churches, cemeteries, hotels, and transportation to all people regardless of race. It passed in the Republican-controlled Senate in 1874 shortly before Sumner died. But House Democrats held up passage until 1875 and deleted bans on discrimination in churches, cemeteries, and schools.
The act stipulated "That all persons. . . shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement." After its passage, no attempt was made to enforce these provisions, and in 1883 the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. Justice Joseph Bradley wrote that the Fourteenth Amendment protected black people from discrimination by states but not by private businesses. Black newspapers likened the decision to the Dred Scott case a quarter century earlier.
From Darlene Clarke Him, William A. Hine and Stanley Harold, The African American Odyssey, (3rd edition) [Saddle, New Jersey:Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006] p 329
The Shotgun Policy
In 1875 white Mississippians, no longer fearful the national government would intervene in force, declared open warfare on the black majority. The masks and hoods of the Klan were discarded. One newspaper publicly proclaimed that Democrats would carry the election, "peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must." Another paper carried a bold banner: "Mississippi is a white man's country, and by the eternal God we'll rule it."
White Mississippi unleashed a campaign of violence known as the Shotgun Policy" that was extreme even for Reconstruction. Many Republicans fled and others were murdered. In late 1874 an estimated three hundred black people were hunted down outside Vicksburg after black men armed with inferior weapons had lost a "battle" with white men. In 1875 thirty teachers, church leaders, and Republican officials were killed in Clinton. The white sheriff of Yazoo County, who had married a black woman and supported the education of black children, had to flee the state.
Mississippi governor Adelbert Ames appealed for federal, help, but President Grant refused: "The whole public are tired out with these annual autumnal outbreaks in the South. . . [and] are ready now to condemn any interference on the part of the Government." No federal help arrived. The terrorism intensified, and many black voters went into hiding on Election Day, afraid for their lives and the lives of their families. Democrats redeemed Mississippi and prided themselves that they—a superior race representing the most civilized of all people—were back in control.
In Florida in 1876, white Republicans noted that support for black people in the South was fading. They nominated an all-white Republican slate and even refused to renominate black congressman Josiah Walls.
The Hamburg Massacre
South Carolina Democrats were divided between moderate and extreme factions, but they united to nominate former Confederate general Wade Hampton for governor after the Hamburg Massacre. The prelude to this event occurred on July 4, 1876 ~ nation's centennial—when two white men in a buggy confronted the black militia that was drilling on a town street in Hamburg, a small, mostly black town. Hot words were exchanged, and days later, Democrats demanded the militia be disarmed. White rifle club members from around the state arrived in Hamburg and attacked the - armory, where forty black members of the militia defended themselves. The rifle companies brought up a cannon and reinforcements from nearby Georgia. After the militia ran low on ammunition, white men - captured the armory. One white man was killed, twenty- nine black men were taken prisoner, and the other eleven fled. Five of the black men identified as leaders were shot down in cold blood. The rifle companies invaded and wrecked Hamburg. Seven white men were indicted for murder. All were acquitted.
From Darlene Clark Hine, Ibid, p328
Who was Qctavis Catto and how did his assassination damping the politics of resistance by the Freedmen and set the stage for the politics of accommodation of the Nadir period?
Octavis Catto was born in Philadelphia 1839. Catto's father, William T. Catto advocated an articulate black ministry and spoke for Philadelphia black who favored higher education. In addition to his home training, Octavis Catto gained the rudiments of his education at local public schools. He attended the segregated Vaux Primary School held in a church near his home. Later Catto attended the more elaborate but also segregated Lombard Grammar School taught by Quaker James Bird. In 1853, Octavis gained admission to that city's white academy. In 1854 Octavis attended the newly opened black high school, the Institute for Colored Youth. By 1867 Catto married Caroline V. LeCount, a graduate of the Institute for Colored Youth and a teacher in the public schools of Philadelphia.
In June 1863 when General Robert E. Lee's army approached northward, toward an eventual showdown with the union army at Gettysburg, Octavis Catto organized an African-American union company and became active in the first division of the Pennsylvania National Guard where he achieved the rank of major and inspector for the Fifth Brigade. Catto was closely associated with the Republican Party and was a member of the newly formed Equal Rights League. In October 1864 Catto met with African-American leaders at Syracuse, New York at the National Convention of Colored Men Organization of a National Equal Rights League supported by the league followed with Douglas as president.
In November of 1864, Pennsylvania's blacks met in Philadelphia to found the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League. Catto was elected to the position of corresponding secretary. Jacob C. White Jr., recording secretary; and William Nesbit of Altoona, president. By the time of the first statewide convention in Harrisburg in February 1865, the Pennsylvania Equal Rights League had organizations in sixteen of the larger cities. The Philadelphia delegation of twenty-four men, headed by Catto and Joseph Bustill, constituted the largest bloc of voters.
Octavis Catto taught at the Institute for Colored Youth, a forerunner of Cheyney University. Catto's involvement in the Equal Rights League during Reconstruction helped win the desegregation of Philadelphia street cars from 1866 to March 22, 1867 when the state legislature passed a bill that desegregated the streetcars of the state.
In the summer of 1869, at the request of Republican leaders, Catto went south to speak in the state of Virginia on behalf of the Fourteenth Amendment. The next year he was granted a leave of absence to go to Washington, D.C., to organize the black schools of that city to accommodate the freedmen. Catto began to get threatening letters against his life after the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870. But this did not deter Octavis from organizing African-Americans for voting.
In the fall 1870, African-Americans, enfranchised by the Fifteenth Amendment, appeared in large numbers to vote. In the summer of 1871, Catto returned to Washington to aid in the administration of the freedman schools. His travels to the nation's capital increased his interest in politics. Catto returned to Philadelphia in early October 1871 to continue his teaching at the Institute for Colored Youth. On Election Day October 10, a fight broke out between black and white voters two blocks away and in the vicinity of Sixth and Lombard streets.
Mass violence erupted throughout these black sections, and local police, rather than federal troops, were called to intervene. They did little to stop the racial rioting that continued throughout the day. At the institute, the students had been dismissed at the first signs of disorder so that they might arrive at home before the situation became more serious. Catto used his free time in the school to write up some military reports, and then told a fellow teacher that he would go to vote. Warned of the dangers, Catto replied that he had no chance to vote earlier and that he intended to exercise his rights as a citizen. He left the school building unarmed. After a confrontation with some whites a block away from the school, Catto headed for the mayor's office to seek help. On Chestnut Street he was again accosted by some white ruffians who pointed a pistol at him, threatening his life if he went to vote. Catto went to a nearby store and purchased a pistol. When a friend reminded him that he had no cartridges, he replied the had some at home.
Catto now proceeded down Ninth Street onto South Street, where a white man with a bandage on his head came up from behind and called out to him. Catto moved away from the man, later identified as Frank Kelly, cognizant of the gun held in his hand. Whether Catto pulled his gun or not is unclear, but Kelly fired three shots into Catto. killing him instantly. Kelly ran from the scene while numerous citizens stood staring at the bleeding body lying in the streets.61 The body was moved to a nearly police station, where in a heart rending scene Caroline LeCount identified her finance's body. (1)
(1) Harry C. Silcox, "Nineteenth -Century Philadelphia Black Militant: Octavis ViCatto (1839-1871)," From Joe William Trotter and Eric Ledell Smith (ed). African-Americans in Pennsylvania [University Park, PA; The Pennsylvania State University Press 1997]
Even though Catto was given a full military funeral his assassination had a negative impact on the African-American community.
In a full military funeral led by Major Catto's Fifth Brigade, the cortege left the city armory at Broad and Race Streets in an hour-long procession down Broad Street. A contingent of grief-stricken students from the institute joined the funeral march. Thousands of whites and blacks lined the route of march to honor the fallen leader. Newspaper reports the next day judged the funeral to be the most elaborate ever held for a black person in America.
The assassination of Catto conditioned(2) future leadership of the black community to become accomodationst to the arising reaction and eventual overthrow of reconstruction just as the assassination of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. tended to damper progressive leadership after the 1960's.