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Life During Reconstruction Essay

655 words - 3 pages

Following the Civil War, we entered a period of rebuilding known as “The Reconstruction.” They say the states had fought so hard against each other and realized that they needed to reunite. This was not going to be an easy task. During this continuous process we are introduced to sharecropping, the “Black Codes,” and what we all knew to be our new lives as a result of the war. It is as much a growing process for us blacks as it is the whites; hopefully we will all just get along.I grew up in South Georgia down on the state line near the old swamps. The period of reconstruction was filled with uncertainty for my family and me. Having once relied on the free labor of us slaves to produce economic wealth, the plantation owners now found themselves without worker. Politically, really did not know what was really going on. We only knew what we ...view middle of the document...

” The ones of us who were freed were equally distressed, as we did not own land or have jobs to sustain them. Many of us were uneducated and lacked skills. Far too often did we return to the plantations to work for pay. However, the plantation owners often lacked the money with which to pay salaries.A solution to both problems was the concept of sharecropping. With sharecropping, us who were free would pay the plantation owner rent on a portion of property by giving the owner a share of the crops grown on that land. The plantation owners provide our housing, materials, and machinery needed for farming the land. The practice of sharecropping sustains the plantation owners far better than it sustains those of us who were freed.Unfortunately, rejoining the United States would prove to be even more difficult than running plantations. The southern states had these crazy laws that we called “Black Codes” which oppressed those of us who were formerly slaves. President Andrew Johnson required states to write new constitutions outlawing these codes and to pass the 14th Amendment, which would give citizenship to all people born in the United States. He also reinstated military rule in the requirements and rejoined the United States on July 25, 1868. Eventually, all the southern states met the requirements and rejoined the United States.Southern Georgia and Florida had not suffered major damage in the Civil War. Consequently, the state was able to supply materials such as lumber to the other states for rebuilding. In order to ship materials, an extensive railroad system was built. This opened up many areas of Florida for development.Many of us began to travel throughout Florida. We discovered a land of warmth and beauty. Hotels were built to house visitors. Florida was becoming a valuable state in the new south and the reunited United States of America.Although it was to take much longer to integrate all Americans economically and fully into society, the official period of reconstruction was over.

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