Civil Rights: The Changes That Happened, The Changes That Didn’t, and Those
That Did Their Best to Prevent Them From Happening.
A.The struggle for equality has been a battle fought for hundreds of years.
Documents such as The Declaration of Independence, dating back to 1776,
state that all men are created equal, and among these are Life, Liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness.
B.Surely we know that in fact all men were not seen as equal because issues such as
slavery and white superiority existed as well as discrimination issues that still
exist to some extent today.
C.In 1865, The 13th Amendment was established which abolished slavery, but did
not grant blacks equality.
D.Government was still extremely biased when meeting to make Amendments.
They were quoted as saying “We hold this to be a government of white
peopleto benefit white peopleand no Africans can be a U.S. citizen”
E.Even though slavery was abolished with the 13th Amendment, issues such as
Black Codes and the struggles of the Freedmens Bureau were definitely
present and burning strong.
F.Inequality was demonstrated when the Freedmens Bureau granted all freed slaves
40 acres of land and a mule. Our President at this time, Andrew Johnson,
strongly disagreed with the Freedmens Bureau and felt that the freedmen did
not deserve the land they were given, so he took it back.
G.Violence became a way of dealing with the civil rights issues. Blacks were
lynched daily and 1000 were killed in the state of Texas alone for various
crimes in which they were not allowed to defend themselves in a court of law.
H.Johnson believed he had restored the Union but Congress disagreed and began to
realize that those who were once slave owners were now in power of the “new
and reformed” states and little change has occurred. This lead to Congress
constructing the Civil Rights Bill of 1866, which gave citizen ship to all born in
I.Johnson disagreed with the Civil Rights Bill and vetoed it, but he was later
overroad by a Congressional decision which was the first time in history that
this has happened.
J.The 14th Amendment was added defining citizenship and demanded equal
protection under the law. The 15th Amendment was also added which
granted Black men the right to vote.
K.Many were still apposed to equal rights and to the laws being made and chose to
take a stand. From this groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Mississippi
Plan developed to terrorize blacks.
Sources: Bittker, Boris I. The Case for Black Reparations. New York: Random
House, Inc., 1973.
Horn, Stanley F. Invisible Empire. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company,
Katz, William Loren. The Ku Klux Klan Impact on History. Washington,
DC: Open Hand Publishing Inc., 1986.
Vogelgesang, Sandy. American Dream Global Nighmare. New York
London: W.W. Norton ; Company, 1980.
Withylaw. “A Short History of American Civil Rights Laws”
http://www.withylaw.com/history.htm. Accessed February 20,
“Civil Rights- Law and History”
February 22, 2002.
Ross, Diane. “Ordinary People Living Extraordinary Lives,”
February 22, 2002