Social Sciences Category
Ashly Flores is a Latina first-generation college student. She comes from Salvadoran-immigrant parents and has resided in Southwest Missouri since she was born. She is in her last semester at MSSU and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in history with a minor in Latin American history and Spanish. She has had the honor of getting into Phi Alpha Theta and the Dean’s list every semester. In the future, she hopes to work as a researcher or in a museum as a curator or archivist. When she is not reading and writing history, she enjoys volunteering at her church, doing nails, traveling, and going on walks with her family.
The Reconstruction Era, from 1863-1877, was a time in which the United States would try to pick up its broken pieces caused by the Civil War. To reconstruct, the country had to find unity in a time of great ideological and political division. Included in this were African Americans who were declared free by the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment. What was Reconstruction like for African Americans and what were its consequences? In analyzing work by scholars and examining primary sources, I conclude that Reconstruction did not fully live up to the expectations of African Americans and abolitionists. They faced difficulties in trying to integrate themselves into society as new citizens. Equally, they faced the hurdle of attempting to have autonomy over their lives. Written documents from that period like threatening letters from white supremacists and letters from freedmen written to government officials, in which they pleaded for help, all show how their legal rights were being infringed. There were also Southern states that passed legislation, such as apprenticeship laws, vagrancy laws, and penal codes targeted at Blacks. All of this contributes to the shortcomings of Reconstruction. African Americans did not receive true emancipation due to the lack of access to land, rising domestic terrorism, and the enactment of discriminatory laws through Black Codes. These actions would ultimately deprive Blacks of liberation and advancement for the foreseeable future.