Civil Rights and Reconstruction essay
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The 14th amendment as it is commonly known, was meant to provide a new lease of civil rights for the blacks who were freed from slavery. Generally, the 14th amendments borrowed it life from the 13th amendment whose ratification was seen as a major victory for the northern America. One of the fundamental reasons for the establishment of the 13th amendment was to wipe completely away the damaging effects associated with slavery, something that was integral in the Emancipation proclamation. However, as things turned out, this was not to be as several challenges emerged, challenges inherited by the 14th amendment (Ward, 1974).
It is to be recognized that President Andrew Johnson together with other likeminded legislators strongly supported the state’s re-admittance into the union after total acceptance of the 13th amendment. Despite president’s support, a section of Republicans referred as the Radical Republicans, wanted more than what was contained in the 13th amendment. This group wanted strong autonomy and control of all the powers they fought for and attained during the war years. The Southern wing did not make it easy either for the president, and soon, the discriminative Black codes found effect in the south. In fact, several inquiries made to find the real concern of the codes found them to be punitive and a new strategy to control the ex-salves. So in short, the challenges that ensued in the 13th amendment were inevitably inherited in the 14th amendment (Ward, 1974).
The 15th amendment was considered to be the last stage in the line of America’s legislative reconstruction. It was fundamentally created to delete the loopholes and inconsistencies, which were impeding the realization of civil rights by the freed black slaves. Prior to its inception, prejudices that segregated the blacks in terms of race, dark history and color were prevalent in large scale. The 15th amendment was seen, therefore, as the savior to the blacks, but as things turned out, the amendment was found to have little practical application. For instance, the Southern States did not take the amendment lightly, and instead of embracing it, they invented dubious ways designed to intimidate blacks and subsequently bare them from voting. In short, despite the widespread acceptance of civil rights for the blacks during the 19th century, several forces worked against it and subsequently slowed its full realization. These forces were majorly legislative forces, which conceived black recognition as a threat to the white’s survival (William, 1969).
Legacies and consequences of the reconstruction period with the civil rights movement
In America’s history, the period of reconstruction is considered to be one of the most challenging moments. The president at this particular time, Andrew Johnson handled some of the most delicate issues that were threatening to the country’s social fabric. One of those daunting tasks was to reunite the south and northern states that were pulling towards different directions after the end of Civil War. The period of reconstruction was charged, therefore, with correcting all the prejudices Black Africans were facing. Importantly, even the government during this period recognized the importance of all rights to all Americans regardless of race or religion (Ward, 1974).
The period of reconstruction of civil rights movements brought with it various legacies and consequences. One of the consequences of this period was the rise of Black Power. The year 1963 for instance, was a crucial year for the civil rights movements. In this year, America witnessed a high voltage protests all over the country; a total of one hundred and fifteen protests in eleven states. It was reported that ten protesters had given up their lives for the sake of freedom, with several thousands others, being arrested and some succumbing to different injuries. Despite all the hurdles and setbacks, the Black supremacy was realized to some extent with black segregation in Alabama getting a rude shock of defeat. On top of this achievement was the mammoth march of approximately two hundred and fifty thousand black activists to White House to force the government to enact legislations, which allowed full participation of blacks in civil duties (Ward, 1974).
Another phenomenal consequence and legacy of the period of reconstruction of civil rights movement was the mass bus boycott, which started on December 5th. The boycott started as a reaction to the arrest of Mrs. Rosa Parks, a black woman, who was arrested for refusing to hand over her seat to a white. This prejudice blew the minds of blacks as it was the first time in history a black was arrested and charged for flouting segregation laws. With the effective leadership of Martin Luther King, the boycott achieved a hundred percent success in the south, and soon the government realized the urgency to abolish segregation laws. The Supreme Court followed the soot and abolished segregation laws and, further, compelled Alabama who was adamant to follow the regulation of the court to abolish all bus segregation laws (William, 1969).
The period of 1950s marked a resurgence and countenance of the period of reconstruction. The countenance was perfectly illustrated by the famous Ku Klux Klan, which was out to derail any progress of racial inclusion. After World War II, it is to be remembered that civil rights movements became intense and pursued their missions with a lot of determination than ever. The black soldiers who took part in the war wanted more rights than they had before. Nevertheless, the KKK, which was vocal in protecting the white supremacy never wanted anything with recognition of race equality, and resorted to carrying out serious suicide bombings to intimidate blacks and scare whites who were beginning to show some sympathy for the blacks. The countenance of reconstruction happened in that there was no space enough for the second KKK to carry its activities as the first Klan. Therefore, led by Dr. Samuel Green of Georgia, the Klan tried its best level to stop black supremacy but it was too late (Chalmers, 1965).