After Slavery: Race, Labor, and Politics in the Post-Emancipation Carolinas

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Interactive Timelines: Civil War to Reconstruction

Civil War to Reconstruction throughout the United States: 1850-1877

The American Civil War fought largely over the future of slavery in the United States and marked a watershed moment in the nation's history—particularly for African Americans. The Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, Union victory, and the subsequent Reconstruction Amendments to the U.S. Constitution promised a new dawn for the South's four million freed men, women and children.

In the 1870s, as Reconstruction faltered and the Freedmen's Bureau retreated, the gains made by African Americans were peeled back, replaced by the discriminatory policies of the "Jim Crow" era. Reconstruction had failed, and the long battle for Civil Rights in the United States had begun.