‘the Slaves Went Free and Stood for a Brief Moment in the Sun’ Du Bois; How Valid Is This View?
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‘The Slaves went free and stood for a brief moment in the sun’ Du Bois; How valid is this view?
In 1865 reconstruction begun with the aim of securing racial equality between blacks and whites in the southern states. Du Bois believes that during this period blacks ‘stood for a brief moment in the sun’. There were significant improvements to black lies that took place during this period such as their freedom of movement, re-unification of family units and improvements in education. However reconstruction also failed to secure racial equality in many ways. Black people were still economically deprived and there was no real political equality as most black people were prevented form voting in the south and most had to live with the threat of…show more content… Another method of preventing blacks from gaining the vote was the successful ‘grandfather clause’ which stated if your grandfather had voted then you were also allowed to vote. In 1900 only 3% of southern blacks were able to vote. This evidence suggests that the black Americans did not stand ‘in the sun’ as the majority was unable to gain the vote and so the reconstruction failed to offer any real racial equality.
Another failure of reconstruction was the failure of blacks in dominating southern politics. The majority of southern blacks lacked education, with 70% illiterate in 1860. The republican party were also against using a black candidate as they considered them less able to govern and were already sure of the black vote so were more interested in securing the votes of white southerners. The few blacks that were able to gain positions in politics were usually moderates who had no desire to exclude ex-confederates from office. This shows reconstruction failed to allow for political equality as there was minimal black representation. This meant black people were unable to significantly improve their social position through politics.
Although Du Bois view that blacks ‘stood for a brief moment in the sun’ during reconstruction is supported by the improvements to black peoples’ lives that occurred during this time, such as the freedom of movement, the