People's History: Reconstruction, 1865-1900 (Chap 9)

Wooden Ships, by Jefferson Airplane
My Old Kentucky Home, by the Edison Concert Band (written 1853, performed 1909)
Shenandoah (written early 1800s); performed by the Brothers Four
Follow the Drinking Gourd (an Underground Railroad hymn performed by Jefferson Starship)

Then Reconstruction tried to reconcile
the cultures, white and black. It took a while,
but rich men saw the economic light:
enslave the workingman, both black and white.

Despite their struggles, slaves maintained cohesive family ties,
and varied culture. With their freedom they would realize
the gains that education guaranteed, a different style
of life for them, as Reconstruction tried to reconcile
the blacks and whites (and one man shouted "Mammy don't you cook
no more - you's free! you's free!"). Amendments followed: 13 took
them out of slavery, and 14 made them citizens,
and 15 gave the vote. As quickly as a black man wins
his freedom, though, the white establishment can set him back.
The lesser pay, "black codes" down south, a Ku Klux Klan attack,
the Jim Crow laws; and rules that curbed the black's ability
to vote (a poll tax, must be literate, or property
required; the Homestead Act deferring to an amnesty
for whites, and Andrew Johnson fighting suffrage {a degree
of black support elected Grant, and Congress had impeached
the troubled Southern President before he breached
this promise to the blacks}). Then Hayes became the President
through business deals, with every black-protecting regiment
removed from Southern land. And after blacks were placed in debt
and swindled, gains by abolitionist and suffragette
were nearly meaningless, and "Plessy versus Ferguson" in '96
condoned a "separate but equal" view -- the politics
of race were back in vogue, and moreso inequality:
as Booker Washington supported black passivity,
Du Bois would see the bigger picture in a much depraved
free market system: all the poor and workingmen enslaved.

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