• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent had the situation for black people in America improved by 1900?

Extracts from this document...


24/09/05 To what extent had the situation for black people in America improved by 1900? The situation for black people in America underwent a huge improvement after their emancipation, but by 1900, due to segregation laws and discrimination in general, life was still very difficult for black people. A common black American saying, 'We ain't what we ought to be, we ain't what we going to be. But thank God we ain't what we used to be.', was how they summed up the situation for themselves. By 1900, the black people of America had many more opportunities than pre-1865, but there was still a long way to go before they gained equality with whites. They had poor jobs, poor pay and were generally treated as some kind of a subspecies by whites. On the positive side, black people were no longer slaves to white people. In 1865, after president Lincoln's death and the end of the civil war, slavery was abolished. The former slaves now had the freedom to travel, and therefore to find work, and to set up a home. ...read more.


Reconstruction had therefore failed to give blacks any lasting political improvement. Even though slavery had been abolished, Southerners still kept hold of their previous beliefs and prejudices. They were frightened of blacks gaining equality and of miscegenation. Even though freed black slaves had gained the freedom to travel, due to their lack of wealth, many could not afford to travel to the industrialised North in search of work. Most of them remained in the South of America, which was economically substantially behind the North, and farmed as tenants under whites. Blacks that did go North suffered racial discrimination in their search for work (and most other areas); if a black man were better educated and qualified for the job than a white man, the latter would still get the job purely because of the colour of his skin. Blacks were often exploited by businessmen; they were paid low wages and often used as strike breakers. Black people even had to pay higher rent than whites for the same apartments; they were restricted to housing within the black ghetto where rents were higher. ...read more.


No legal protection or support existed for black people, especially in the South, where tension was more prevalent and hostility more common. In conclusion, by 1900, black people theoretically had the freedom to work and build lives for themselves, but realistically their opportunities were limited and they faced much discrimination and (especially in the South) hostility from whites. They had to tolerate de facto discrimination in the North, and de jure in the South, which undid most of what Reconstitution had done; they were still seen as a subspecies not fit to mix with white people. The political rights that they had been given were trampled on in the South, who ignored the US constitution with the knowledge of the Supreme Court. They therefore had little government support or protection, and, in the South, unsatisfactory representation. Compared to when they were enslaved, their situation had improved, but life in America for a black person was extremely hard, and there was a long struggle ahead for equality with whites. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE USA 1941-80 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE USA 1941-80 essays

  1. Did life Improve for Black people after 1865? The Civil war finally ended in ...

    Because blacks were cheap to employ, people who had immigrated to America saw them as competitors for jobs. Also products may have bee sold to blacks for larger sums of money although there is no evidence to support this. Here is a good example of one lynching event that took

  2. Blacks were substantially better off in 1877 than they had been in 1863.' How ...

    opinions towards them had to change. By the end of Reconstruction this had not happened because they were still seen as substandard compared to white Americans. Many southern states, still believing that Blacks were not 'fit to perform the supreme function of citizenship', did not ratify the 14th and 15th Amendments.

  1. Civil Rights in America 50s & 60s

    of no longer limiting the places where black people were allowed to live and was the first step in starting mixed race communities and neighbourhoods, as black families were now allowed to move into predominantly white occupied areas. Despite the three major law changes, the situation was still far from perfect.

  2. Freedom Come, Freedom Go

    Although King's words are intimidating, his means of achieving equality are hardly oriented by evoking violence or conflict between the white and black community.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work