WHITE SOUTHERNERS AND THE GHOSTS OF THE CONFEDERACY, 1865
A. The casualties of war in the South continued long after the hostilities ceased. These were
hardly the only cases of starvation that stalked the defeated region in the months after the
B. They came to view the war as the
and interpreted it, not as a lesson in
humility, but as an episode in the South’s journey to salvation.
C. The statues of the Confederate common soldier erectly typically on the most important
site in town, the courthouse square.
MORE THAN FREEDOM: AFRICAN-AMERICAN ASPIRATIONS IN 1865
To black southerners the Civil War was a war of liberation, not a Lost Cause.
Congress envisioned the
as a multipurpose agency to provide social,
educational, and economical services, advice, and protection to former slaves and
destitute white southerners.
The greatest success of the Freemen’s Bureau was the education.
Support for black teachers came from black teachers, especially the African Methodist
At the end of the Civil War, only about 10 percent of black southerners were literate,
compared with more than 70 percent of white southerners.
C. “Forty Acres and a Mule”
Before the war’s end, rumors circulated through black communities in the South that the
government would provide each black family with 40 acres and a mule. These rumors
were fueled by General William T. Sherman’s
Field Order No. 15
in January 1865,
which set aside a vast swath of abandoned land along the South Atlantic coast from the
Charleston area to northern Florida for grants up to 40 acres.
In 1866, Congress passed the
Southern Homestead Act
, giving black people preferential
access to public lands in five southern states.
The premise of
was relatively simple: the landlord furnished the
sharecropper with a house, a plot of land to work, seed, some farm animals, and farm
implements and advanced them credit at a store the landlord typically owned. In
exchange, the sharecropper promised the landlord a share of the crop.
D. Migration to Cities
Most rural black Southerners work as unskilled laborers. In both Atlanta and Nashville,
black people comprised more than 75 percent of the unskilled force in 1870.
Faith and Freedom
Black southerners saw emancipation in biblical terms as the beginning of an exodus from
bondage to the Promised Land.
III. FEDERAL RECONSTRUCTION, 1865—1870