Reconstruction Era Labor Agreement

After the Civil War, the South entered a period (which lasted from 1865 to 1877) called Reconstruction, when the federal government oversaw the reconstruction of government in the southern states. To regulate the activities of newly released African-Americans, national, government and local governments have drafted legislation to this effect. Some laws were for their protection, especially those that dealt with employment contracts, but others described their civil rights. This volume, compiled by the staff of General Oliver O. Howard, the director of the Office of Refugees, Freedmens and Abandoned Lands – usually called Freedmen`s Office – provides an overview of these laws in ten of the former Confederate States until 1867. Much of the violence against African Americans has been marked by gender bias against African Americans. Black women were in a particularly precarious situation. It was extremely difficult to care for a white man who sexually abused black women during this period. [21] The Justice System of the South had been completely repositioned to make one of its main objectives the compulsion of African Americans to respect the social customs and work requirements of whites.

Trials were discouraged and lawyers for the accused black crimes were hard to find. The purpose of the district courts was a quick and simple trial, with a conviction that resulted. Most blacks were unable to pay their fines or bail, and “the most common penalty was nine months to a year in a slave mine or a timber depot.” [92] The justice system in the South has been manipulated to generate costs and demand money, not to protect the public. Black women were socially perceived as sexually spoiled, and as they were presented as unspoant, society maintained that they could not be raped. [93] According to one report, two released women, Frances Thompson and Lucy Smith, describe their violent sexual assaults during the Memphis riots of 1866. [94] However, black women were vulnerable even in periods of relative normality. Sexual assaults against African-American women were so pervasive, especially by their white employers, that black men tried to reduce contact between white men and black women by insinuating women in their families to avoid work closely monitored by whites. [95] Black men were considered extremely sexually aggressive and their alleged threats or rumours against white women were often used as a pretext for lynchings and castrations.

[21] Just after the war, a debate on how to rebuild government and southern society was divided between radical Republicans (mostly northern countries) who were trying to get blacks and new political models, and conservative Democrats (mostly southern countries) who wanted the federal government to withdraw and allow the South to rebuild as it had done. In 1866, the radical Republicans won the election and created the Freedmen`s Bureau to offer food, clothing and advice to former slaves on employment contracts. Four main groups competed in the South to form new methodical churches composed of The Freed.