Were African Americans free during Reconstruction?
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African Americans were not enslaved during Reconstruction. However, they were not truly free in most times and places because they lacked economic power and political equality.
Of course, African Americans were legally free during Reconstruction. In addition, there were times and states in which they were able to vote and to hold office. However, this did not last long. White Southerners soon began to roll back African American rights. This was done partly through violence on the part of groups like the KKK.
Importantly, African Americans were not economically free either. They did not get the “forty acres and a mule” that they had hoped for. This meant that most African Americans were indebted to white landowners. This severely curtailed their actual freedom as well.
African Americans, then, were legally free, but did not enjoy true freedom during this time.
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