Reconstruction Failed For African Americans

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Reconstruction failed for African Americans. By the 1890’s all optimism that came as a result of the Constitutional rights guaranteed to them by the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments was gone. Their reality, particularly for those in the South, was one of lynchings, Jim Crowe laws, and voting restrictions. They faced discrimination, segregation, limited educational opportunities, and a tenant farming system that only slightly differed from slavery. In the early twentieth century, visionaries such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and Marcus Garvey recognized the urgent need for change. These great leaders were in agreement that action was required to uplift the African American race. However, their philosophies on how to approach it were vastly different. Born a slave on a Virginia farm, Booker Taliaferro Washington (1856-1915) rose to become one of the most influential African-American intellectuals of the late 19th century. He was nine years old when the Civil War ended. He worked hard as a young child and at 16, he left home to attend Hampton Institute. One of the few black high schools in the South, it focused on industrial and agricultural training while maintaining an extremely structured curriculum that stressed discipline and high moral character. Washington thrived in that environment. He eventually went on to head a new school in Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee Institute was devoted to the training of black teachers, farmers, and skilled workers. Under his

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