African Americans in the Post–Civil War Era

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After emancipation, how did ex-slaves exercise their new freedoms, and how did white southerners attempt to limit them?

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After the Civil War, many former slaves searched for missing family members who were either sold or displaced by the war. Many former slaves took advantage of their new freedom of movement and traveled to other towns in the South. Others moved West and North in search of better treatment and work. Former slaves also sought out educational opportunities through the Freedmen's Bureau and by taking advantage of the new primary schools being erected in the South. While many former slaves did not leave the plantation, many sought out sharecropper relationships in which they hoped to one day obtain a plot of land of their own, but, in most cases, the sharecropper system resulted in generational poverty. Many former slaves also voted and many ran successfully for public office.

Many whites in the South were not in favor of these social changes. Former slaves were often required by cities to carry passes while they traveled or else be charged with vagrancy and then being put to work in a chain...

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