Description: The key to Reconstruction for both blacks and whites was black suffrage. On one hand this vote made possible the elevation of black political leaders to positions of prominence in the reorganization of the South after the Civil War. For southern whites, on the other hand, black participation in the Reconstruction governments discredited the positive accomplishments of those regimes and led to the evolution of a systematized white rejection of the black as a positive force in southern politics. For white contemporaries and subsequent historians, the black political leader became the exemplar of all that was reprehensible about the period. Stereotyped patterns, developed to eliminate black influence, prevented any examination of the actual role played by these men in the reconstruction process. This study is partially a synthesis of recent scholarly research on specific aspects of the black political role and the careers of individual political leaders. Additional research included examination of a number of manuscript collections in the Library of Congress and the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina, state and federal government documents, and contemporary newspapers. On the basis of all these sources, this study evaluates the nature of black political leadership and its impact on the reconstruction process in all the ten states which were subject to the provisions of congressional reconstruction legislation. The topic is developed chronologically, beginning with the status of blacks at the end of the Civil War and their search for identity as citizens. Black leadership emerged early in the various rallies and black conventions of 1865 and early 1866. With the passage in March 1867 of reconstruction legislation establishing black suffrage as the basis for restoration of the former Confederate states, black leaders played a crucial role in the development of the southern Republican party and the registration of ...
Date: August 1974
Creator: Brock, Euline Williams
Partner: UNT Libraries