American Civil Rights: African Americans

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This is part timeline part general infomation that can be used to support your own notes on African Americans and their fight for Civil Rights between 1865 and 1992.

1863 The Emancipation Proclamation - the Emancipation Proclamation was a speech made by Abraham Lincoln on the 1st January 1863 during the American Civil War. In this speech he declared that all slaves and people classed as belonging to the state where be "forever free" and that the military, naval and government autorities "will recognise and maintain the freedom of such persons". He stated that all slaves woud be freed

Reconstruction Era 1865-1877

13th Amendment - the 13th Amendment was granted in 1865 and this freed the slaves, most people see this as a good thing as it meant that they were no longer bound to an owner and treated like a commodity. However the majority of ex-slaves had no education, no money, no home and nowhere to go, so stayed working for the plantation owners.

14th Amendment - the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 and granted African Americans Citizenship. Until this point African Americans had been either owned or were classed as immigrants. The 14th Amendments gave African Americans the rights of normal White Americans although they still could not vote and in many states, particually the South, they were treated as second class citizens.

15th Amendment - the 15th Amendment was passed in 1870 and granted men the right to vote (women were excluded). This allowed African American men the right to vote which was a huge step forward however their right was often blocked by white men using Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws which segregated them from society. This meant that by 1877 most African American men were barred from voting.

Freedman's Bureau - The Freedman's Bureau was an attempt made to help support ex-slaves during the Reconstruction Era. It was designed to support ex-slaves by educating them, as the majority had no formal education, and providing short term accomodation until they could find a perminant home. However although this was a good start the Bureau was closed in 1872.

1896 Plessy Vs Ferguson - this was a test case, testing the laws on Segregation. In Louisiana a law had been passed in 1890 stating that blacks and whites should have separate carriages on the train. Homer Plessy a man classed as black although he had more white hertitage then black. Plessy was arrested in1892 for sitting in the White carriage of a train on the East Louisiana Railway. the Judge John Howard Ferguson foudn him guilty in court dispite his own view that the law was "unconstitutional on trains that traveled through many states". Plessy appealed and it went to the Supreme Court in 1896. Plessy was found guilty once again as Louisiana Law did not violate the 13th and 14th Amendments. The judge said that he was not forced to be a slave and that he was treated the same just separately. This case coined the trem 'Separate But Equal'.

Black Codes and Jim

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