Violence against Black Politicians after Reconstruction


During Reconstruction, which lasted until 1877, more than 1,500 black politicians were elected to public office at all levels of government. Reconstruction refers to the period after the Civil War when the federal government sought to extend constitutional protections to black people. Legislation like the Enforcement Acts of 1870 and 1871, for example, attempted to curb intimidation against black voters.
Black politicians ended up representing southern counties where just a few years prior they might have been slaves. With financing needed to rebuild the South, black officeholders were in a position to enact tax policy and expand public goods.
They were also the targets of organized violence perpetrated by white people. Thousands of African Americans died at the hands of organized white people during Reconstruction.

READ: Higher taxes and violence against black politicians post-Civil War

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“Politicians, Priests, and psychiatrists often face the same problem: how to find the most rapid and permanent means of changing a man’s belief…The problem of the doctor and his nervously ill patient, and that of the religious leader who sets out to gain and hold new converts, has now become the problem of whole groups of nations, who wish not only to confirm certain political beliefs within their boundaries, but to proselytize the outside world.” – William Sargant “Battle of the Mind”

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