How did African-American lives change after 1865?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

African-American lives changed after 1865 in several ways. The Civil War ended in April 1865. This had a huge impact on African-Americans.

The ending of the Civil War brought slavery to an end. The Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery. The plantation owners no longer owned their slaves. As a result, some African-Americans formally got married. Others went to search for family members that were living elsewhere. African-Americans built their own schools and their own churches.

The Freedmen’s Bureau was designed to help the freed slaves. African-Americans got medical care. Food and clothing were distributed to them. The Freedmen’s Bureau helped African-Americans get fair wages for the jobs they had.

Constitutional changes were made to help the African-Americans. African-Americans became citizens with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. They now had the rights that all citizens had. These rights couldn’t be taken away without due process of law. The Fifteenth Amendment prevented African-Americans from being denied the right to vote because they had been slaves. African-American males voted and held office.

For about ten to twelve years after the Civil War ended, African-Americans saw many areas of their lives improve. Unfortunately, once Reconstruction ended, some of those improvements were taken away.