The Fallacy of ‘Emancipation’: African Americans in Florida from 1865 - 1870

1918 Words 8 Pages
The African-American during the Reconstruction Era probably felt victorious as well as discomfited. Prior to the Civil war, slaves hoped freedom would give them the right of equal status in American society, but their dream of an egalitarian America was impeded after Lincoln’s assassination. To add to former slave woes, the southern economy lay destitute. Many southerners felt the added wage earners (former slaves) would destroy the cotton business’s productivity. Stated thus, many African-Americans were subjugated by White Elitists. Nevertheless, black Floridians advocated for economic, social, and even political equality, despite the hostile environment. This is interesting because it goes against the popular misconception of Florida’s …show more content…
The African-American during the Reconstruction Era probably felt victorious as well as discomfited. Prior to the Civil war, slaves hoped freedom would give them the right of equal status in American society, but their dream of an egalitarian America was impeded after Lincoln’s assassination. To add to former slave woes, the southern economy lay destitute. Many southerners felt the added wage earners (former slaves) would destroy the cotton business’s productivity. Stated thus, many African-Americans were subjugated by White Elitists. Nevertheless, black Floridians advocated for economic, social, and even political equality, despite the hostile environment. This is interesting because it goes against the popular misconception of Florida’s history. During my secondary school education, I was taught that Florida was moderate compared to other southern states -- supposedly, the state gave former slaves more rights than any other state (in the south). After researching the impact African-Americans had on society, I can irrevocably state that the situation was far more complicated than initially perceived. Consequently, many history books understate the roles African-Americans played during Florida’s Reconstruction.
It is undeniable that since before Florida became part of America, it was an asylum of freedom and liberation for the black man. Slaves would run from their plantations across Florida’s border. Many integrated into the indigenous Native tribes that called the
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