Saturday, March 24, 2012
After winning the American Civil War for Northern States, Abraham Lincoln went about abolishing slavery in United States of America. The Congress and Senate passed three landmark amendments attempting to change the fate of African Americans in that country. The 13th Amendment outlawed slavery, the 14th Amendment made blacks equal citizens, and 15th Amendment gave them right to vote. In the next ten years of Reconstruction, many black leaders emerged to occupy positions in Senate and Congress. It almost looked, for a while, that this new nation would correct the mistakes of its past and reverse the effects of slavery it imposed on black people. However, the whites of America were not ready to give blacks an equal status in their country. They started to dilute these amendments by creating a notion called ‘separate but equal’. They imposed segregation in the country through a series of measures called Jim Crow laws.
It started with disenfranchising many blacks, then creating separate schools, separate seating in travel and restaurants, thereby institutionalizing discrimination. They created two Americas, one for the privileged which was mostly white, and the other was for the underprivileged which was mostly black. The Jim Crow laws completely negated the three amendments passed during Lincoln’s times.