Depending on ones perspective, perhaps the Reconstruction period was the best or the worst time in history, especially for the progression of those individuals who considered themselves, African Americans. Throughout the 18 and 19 hundreds, the relationships between blacks and whites were, and in many cases, still today remains particularly intense, primarily because it seems for most African Americans, the rules, although not commonly revealed, have never really changed financially, socially, culturally or politically. The period of 1876-1865 proved to be a time of change that offered limited possibilities agitated by the mental illness of racism that often propelled darkness and despair. This was the Reconstruction period that centered around slavery and of course, cotton. Reconstruction deemed difficult, especially in states where the population involved a higher percentage of blacks. The devastation concerning the economy and the premise of a new social structure made the tolerance of race relations impossible. It was in 1965 that the United States Congress established the Freedmen’s Bureau as part of the War Department that assisted in many important functions. Many of those functions served to aid in establishing schools and protecting the civil rights of former slaves, however, after the end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, President Andrew Johnson brought into affect, the re-admittance of former Confederate states that invited the actions of white supremacy. The use of intimidation and violence was used as a means to stiffen progress between the races and because of this practice, in 1866 the Ku Klux Klan was established.
Although there were many set-backs there was also progression despite terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, which continues to be an embarrassment to whites, and continues to be an embarrassment many times for America. During the Reconstruction era, blacks held public office. The first senators by the name of Hiram R. Revel (1827-1901) and Blanche K. Bruce (1841-1898) held the office as chaplain to black troops during the Civil War. Not only were they the first but the only black senators, during the Reconstruction period. There were other black and white Mississippians who promoted biracial political societies, where eventually a political constituency was formed that included northern Republicans that had moved in from other states.
Still much hadn’t changed for blacks, especially when Mississippi passed the first, and might I add the most notoriously ridiculous and de-humanizing Black Code Law. This meant that blacks could and would be punished differently than whites, the beginning of the disparities in the legal system that exist even today, for any and every crime, which included insulting gestures. Recently I visited a court room for one of my foster care sons and noticed the enormous number of blacks being represented by white lawyers and then standing before white judges to await their fate. It reminded me of an old slave memoir where the old black man sat waiting for a promise that would never come, a white doctor’s visit to make him well. The mindset of this individual and those like him is that some how, as he believed, it would be the white man who would make everything all right for him. It seems obvious enough that blacks could not possibly be the only race of people breaking the many laws that exist of the land and yet all that was present, in a despairingly a predominately white county of Maryland, were courtrooms full of mostly young black males. Are blacks the only people who break the laws? Of course not, but in America, they are the only race of people hunted down like cattle, often leaving behind loved ones too poor to pay for decent legal presentation. According to many referenced publications despite prevailing stereotypes, whites, not blacks, collect the greatest share of public aid dollars in this country and whites, not blacks are amongst the largest in numbers of child molesters and rapists. According http://www.yellodyno.com/html/child_molester_stats.html