A resource developed in partnership with the Library of Congress asks, “did the Reconstruction Era following the Civil War result in freedom, equality and civil rights for African Americans?” The Reconstruction Era lasted from the end of the Civil War in 1865 to 1877. Its main focus was on bringing the southern states back into full political participation in the Union, guaranteeing rights to former slaves and defining new relationships between African Americans and whites. While very little fighting occurred on Iowa soil and Iowa had never legalized slavery, black migration of former slaves into the region and the national focus on civil rights forced Iowa to reconsider its own racial relations.
Students will reflect on the following questions:
How free were African Americans during Reconstruction?
Were African Americans considered equal members of society and treated as such?
How much political power did African Americans have during Reconstruction?