Land, Labor & Freedom

Freedom to own property. Before 1865, African Americans were slaves, working without payment. During the Reconstruction era, African Americans believed that they deserved to acquire the land that they worked on due to the fact that they haven’t received payment for their work. President Johnson received letters and petitions regarding homesteads for the blacks. At that point no land was distributed in fact African Americans were left with no choice, but to work on white-owned plantations. I understand why the blacks are fighting for this particular freedom, it is important to have your own land where you can dwell on and make complete profit.

African Americans working on a plantation

After compromising between the plantation owners and the blacks, they were than allowed to rent a portion of the plantation to work and live on with their families. This is known as sharecropping. The Freedom Bureau was responsible to establish schools, aid the poor, and to make sure that the former slaves and the white Unionists are treated equally.  They did not receive complete freedom just yet. Prior 1877, laws were passed by the new southern governments so that former slaves can have some-what equality. These laws granted slaves the right to own property, marry, and limited access to courts.

To conclude, in 1868 one of the Reconstruction amendments was ratified, The Fourteenth Amendment. It states that the government must protect every Americans right. Therefore, if an African American feels that he has been violated, in terms of owning property, he has the Fourteenth Amendment to back him up.

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