African Americans In The Civil War

926 words - 4 pages

Throughout the duration of the Civil War in 1861 to the 1920s, African Americans made significant strides toward their advancement in America and toward equity with whites. After having being subjected to white governance and enslaved for so long, their dependence generated a sense of unfamiliarity with their newly acquired emancipation. This uncertainty sparked many debates regarding the most effectual way to go about receiving their “inalienable” rights as human beings, not merely substandard Negros as they were perceived to be. However, some thought that the most effective approach would be to acquiesce to the subservient status upheld by whites in order to earn their respect until equity permeated. Others were more combative in their dealings, hoping that militancy would force whites to surrender unto blacks their basic rights. Those who remained thought that progress was not plausible wherever they were, thus a physical vacation would be essential to escape confinement and oppressive attitudes toward blacks. In spite of their differing approaches, the discrepancies amongst blacks were bound by a common interest: to ensure a more promising and progressive future for the entirety of all African Americans.
Foremost, in order to comprehend the complexity of the African American dilemma, it is essential to understand their preceding history. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, fought from 1861 until 1865, blacks were bound by the callousness of slavery. Though the initial claims for the intent of the war was to reunite the seceding southern states with the Union, it ultimately became about the retention of slavery in southern states. It was during the Civil War that blacks were permitted to enter combat for the first time, and according to some, their contribution was what warranted the Northern victory over the South. The termination of the war ensued the ratification of the 13th amendment on January 1, 1865, which prompted the manumission of all slaves, unlike the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation that only granted freedom to the slaves in the dissenting states.
Moreover, the subsequent time period following the war was deemed the period of Reconstruction, a time of mending a restoration after the detriment of war. However, it was during that time that southern whites attempted to regress back to enslavement by perpetuating their preeminence over blacks and instituting restraints on the rights of the freshly freedmen. Such measures as the Black Codes and the KKK were implemented within the South to regulate the actions of African Americans as though they were in slavery but without the security of safety that comes with being considered property. Though chattel slavery had been abolished, the abruptness of its termination left several pertinent issues unresolved in relation to the status of African Americans. The terms...

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