African-American Historical Notebook/Primer

Who was Frederick Douglas?

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Who was Frederick Douglas?

Frederick Douglas was the only African-American leader to lead the National Movement through two economic formations (cultural capitalism) chattel slavery and industrial capitalism. Douglas correctly foresaw the major contradictions from 1848 on and foretold of the north engaging in a civil war to destroy slavery.

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1818, and was given the name Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey (Baly), after his mother Harriet Bailey. During the course of his remarkable life he escaped from slavery, became internationally renowned for his eloquence in the cause of liberty, and went on to serve the national government in several official capacities. Through his work he came into contact with many of the leaders of his times. His early work in the cause of freedom brought him into contact with a wide array of abolitionists and social reformers, including William Lloyd Garrison, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, John Brown, Gent Smith and many others. As a major Stationmaster on the Underground Railroad he directly helped hundreds on their way to freedom through his adopted home city of Rochester, NY.

Renowned for his eloquence, he lectured throughout the US and England on the brutality and immorality of slavery. As a publisher his North Star and Frederick Douglass' Paper brought news of the anti-slavery movement to thousands. Forced to leave the country to avoid arrest after John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, he returned to become a staunch advocate of the Union cause. He helped recruit African American troops for the Union Army, and his personal relationship with Lincoln helped persuade the President to make emancipation a cause of the Civil War. Two of Douglass' sons served in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, which was made up entirely of African American volunteers.

All of Douglass' children were born of his marriage to Anna Murray. He met Murray, a free African American, in Baltimore while he was still held in slavery. They were married soon after his escape to freedom. After the death of his first wife, Douglass married his former secretary, Helen Pitts, of Rochester, NY. Douglass dismissed the controversy over his marriage to a white woman, saying that in his first marriage he had honored his mother's race, and in his second marriage, his father's.

In 1872, Douglass moved to Washington, DC where he initially served as publisher of the New National Era, which was intended to carry forward the work of elevating the position of African Americans in the post-Emancipation period. This enterprise was discontinued when the promised financial backing failed to materialize. In this period Douglass also served briefly as President of the Freedmen's National Bank, and subsequently in various national service positions, including US Marshal for the District of Columbia and diplomatic positions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The Hayes-Tilden Compromise of 1877

The 1876 presidential election gave a majority to neither the Republican candidate, Hayes nor the Democrat Tilden.

Both Democrats and Republicans claimed to have won in Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina, the last three Southern states that had not been redeemecLThis created a stand off between the two presidential candidates, the Republicans Rutherford B. Hayes and the Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. Hayes had won 167 electoral votes, Tilden had 185. Whoever took the nineteen electoral votes of the three contested states would be the next president. The controversy precipitated a constitutional crisis in 187712

By 1876, the year of the disputed Hayes-Tilden presidential election, only Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina still had Reconstruction governments. In Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia, where the former Confederates were quickly re-enfranchised, Reconstruction ended early. The Reconstruction governments in Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina, which were among the last to fall, met with particularly violent fates. For as long as 30 years after the end of Reconstruction, the blacks of the Southern states continued to vote and to hold office, but as a beaten people.

Rutherford B. Hayes was responsible for the Compromise of 1877. As President he consolidated the acquiescence to white supremacy in the south by removing troops in the South and by promising federal subsidies for the construction of the Texas and Pacific railroads and other improvements. He feared a renewal of the Civil War if he did not build cooperative linkages between the regions.

After secret negotiations between leaders of the two parties, the republicans were recognized winners and set their men in the presidency. As a sign of gratitude, the new republican government agreed to withdraw federal troops from the final three states where the republicans still maintained power. The troops were withdrawn and in April 1877 and the racists seized power in these states and all of the south.

Perhaps more than any other single factor, the failure of Reconstruction to provide land for the freedmen contributed to their loss of political power and their continued status as an economically dependent people. Just as the failure of the United States to rid itself of slavery paved the way for civil war, so its failure to solve the problems and maintain the gains of Reconstruction led directly to the race problems of a later day.

At the end of reconstruction, lynchings of African-Americans and often their allies were carried out to subordinate African-American labor and to curtail business competition from African-Americans. Lynching occurred mostly in South averaging about 100 lynchings a year climaxing in 1892 with 161. Between 1882 and 1968, 4,743 lynchings were recorded, including fifty African-American women, between 1889 and 1918.13

11 "Eric Fo\ner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1853-1877 [New
York: Harper & Row, 1988]

12 QtrCttHme) im 29

13 Jacqueline Jone Royster (ed). Southern Horrors and other Writings: The Anti-Lvnching. Campaign of Ida B. Wells. 1892-1900 {Boston: Bedford Books, 1977] pp 10

Questions and Answers

1. In 1865, who issued Special Field Order #15?

A. Andrew Johnson (Page 261)

B. William Sherman

C. Booker T. Washington

D. Aaron Bradley

2. When was President Lincoln assassinated?

A. April 16, 1865 (Page 272)

B. April 16, 1875

C. April 11, 1875

D. April 14,1865

3. What Amendment outlawed slavery?

A. 10th

B. 11th

C. 15th

D. 13th (January 31,1865; Congress passed 13th amendment after nearly
250 years of slavery)

4. What were some of the responsibilities of the Freedmen's Bureau?

A. Help Freedman obtain land, gain education and settle legal and
criminal issues.

B. Reunite relatives who were separate before and during the war.

C. Provide equal opportunities for African-American women and men

D. Acquire rights for all African-Americans to vote.

5. What were some the reasons that the Southern Homestead Act failed?

A. White farmers were paid more for the land.

B. Many African-Americans families lacked money to cultivate the land.

C. The land was unsuitable for farming.

D. Both B and C

6. What was Andrew Johnson's attitude towards Southerners who supported secession?

A. He felt they were un American and should be imprisoned.

B. He permitted them to gain political influence and authority

C. He felt all of the property they owned should be taken away.

D. He seemed impartial to them.

7. What year was Andrew Johnson impeached?

A. 1868

B. 1866

C. 1867

D. 1870

8. How did the "Freedmen" feel about their political advancement?

A. They felt satisfied and content.

B. It generated increasing expectations and demand for advancement.

C. They were timid to try to push things past.

D. Most wasn't aware of political advancement

9. During the African-American conventions what was the role of the women?

A. Women served as delegates.

B. Women were not allowed.

C. Women attended as spectators and often offered questions, comments
and criticism.

D. Women were often a voice for militant and radical ideas.

10. Even with thousands of schools that had been opened after the civil war, most
"Freedmen" did not attend.

T or F

11. Native Southerners who supported the Republi during reconstruction were known as .

A. Scalawags

B. Carpetbaggers

C. Loyalist

D. Deists

12. Where was the Ku Klux Klan founded?

A. Pulaski, Tennessee

B. Monroe County, Mississippi

C. New Orleans, Louisiana

D. Richmond, Viginia

13. Northerners who moved South following the Civil War were known as

A. Scalawags

B. Carpetbaggers

C. Loyalists

D. Deists

14. African-American politicians sought to protect farm workers from ...

A. Dishonest landlords who fired them w/o pay near the end of the
growing season

B. Organizing unions

C. Working 7 days a week

D. Wage and price regulations

15. What was the name given to those who wanted to save the South from African-
American rule?

A. Berbers

B. Liberals

C. Redeemers

D. Fascist

16. Who was the "key "figure and "Grand Wizard" in the Ku Klux Klan?

A. Nathan Bedford Forrest

B. Ulysses S. Grant

C. James Pike

D. Robert Lee

17. The Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations functioned mainly where African-
Americans representd . . .

A. A large majority

B. A large minority

18. Which Southern state unleashed a campaign of violence known a "Shotgun Policy?"

A. Florida

B. Mississippi

C. Louisiana

D. Tennessee

19. Which Amendment sought to protect voting rights?

A. 13th

B. 14th

C. 15th

D. 16th

20. What Act did congress pass in response to terrorist acts in the South?

A. The Freedmen's Bureau Acts

B. The Enforcement Acts

C. The Greenfield Acts

D. The Wade and Chase Acts


21. Why was the 15th Amendment needed? What group opposed its passage?

Answer: The 15th Amendment was needed to protect the voting rights of Africans-Americans and to defend Republican governments in the South from the Ku Klux Klan

22. Explain the term "reddeming" the South, how was this achieved?

Answer: This "redeeming" processing was when the white Democrats in the South used violence and intimidation to deter African-American voters and ensure the outcome of an election.

23. Why did Northerners loose interest in African-American civil rights? What factors

lead to this?

Answer: Northerners grew frustrated with the demand of their time and attention over the years after reconstruction. They became more concerned with elections and economic issues. They were also swayed by white Southerners views that African-American leaders were corrupt and incapable of self-government.

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