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A Visual Timeline of Reconstruction: 1863-1877

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January 1

Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation Proclamation issued.
Frees slaves in states in rebellion and authorizes the enlistment of black troops.

President's Abraham Lincoln's Signature on the Emancipation Proclamation

November 8   Lincoln reelected president
March 3 Freedman's Bureau The Freedmen's Bureau established.
Provides assistance to emancipated African Americans. Abolished in 1872.
April 8   Lee surrenders.
Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomatox Court House. Joseph E. Johnston's surrender in North Carolina on April 18 effectively ends the Civil War.
April 15 President Abraham Lincoln assassinated.
Vice President Andrew Johnson becomes president.
December 6 Thirteenth Amendment 13th Amendment ratified.
Abolishes slavery in the United States.
  Black Codes enacted.
Southern states enact laws restricting rights of African Americans.
April 9   Civil Rights Act of 1866
Confers citizenship on African Americans and guarantees equal rights.
May 1-3 Burning a Freedman's Schoolhouse Memphis Race Riot
White civilians and police kill 46 African Americans and destroy 90 houses, schools, and four churches in Memphis, Tennessee.
July 30   New Orleans Race Riot
Police kill more than 40 black and white Republicans and wound more than 150.
  Ku Klux Klan Ku Klux Klan
A secret organization to intimidate African Americans and restore white rule is founded in Pulaski, Tennessee.
    Reconstruction Acts
Congress divides the former Confederacy into five military districts and requirs elections in which African American men can vote.
March-May Johnson's Impeachment Trial President Johnson's Impeachment Trial
By one vote, the U.S. Senate fails to remove the president from office.
July 21   Fourteenth Amendment ratified.
Guarantees due process and equal protection under the law to African Americans.
November 3 Presidential Campaign Buttons, 1868 Ulysses S. Grant elected President.
The former Union general becomes the 18th president.
    First Redeemer Government
Tennessee is the first state to replace a bi-racial Republican state government with an all-white Democratic government, followed by Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia in 1870.
February 23 Hiram Revels First black senator elected.
Hiram Revels of Mississippi elected to U. S. Senate as the first black senator.
March 30 Fifteenth Amendment Fifteenth Amendment ratified.
Extends the vote to all male citizens regardless of racer or previous condition of servitude.
  Forty-second Congress.
Five black members in the House of Representatives: Benjamin S. Turner of Alabama; Josiah T. Walls of Florida; and Robert Brown Elliot, Joseph H. Rainey and Robert Carlos DeLarge of South Carolina.
    Freedmen's Bureau abolished.
    First African American governor.
P. B. S. Pinchback, acting governor of Louisiana from December 9, 1872 to January 13, 1873. Pinchback, a black politician, was the first black to serve as a state governor, although due to white resistance, his tenure is extremely short.
  Robert Smalls Democrats control the Forty-third Congress
For the first time since before the Civil War, Democrats control both houses of Congress. Robert Smalls, black hero of the Civil War, elected to Congress as representative of South Carolina. Blanche K. Bruce elected to U. S. Senate.
March 1   Civil Rights Act of 1875 enacted by Congress.
Guarantees equal rights to African Americans in public accomodations and jury service. Ruled unconstitutional in 1883.
  Campaign Bandanas Disputed Presidential election
Republicans challenged the validity of the voting in Souh Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana.
  Wade Hampton Wade Hampton inaugurated as governor of South Carolina.
The election of Hampton, a leader in the Confederacy, confirms fears that the South is not committed to Reconstruction.
    Rutherford B. Hayes inaugurated President.
Electoral Commissoin awards disputed electoral votes tot he republican candidate.
    Reconstruction ends.
President Rutherford Hayes withdraws federal troops from the South protecting the Civil Rights of African Americans.
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