How did the Reconstruction period affect the lives of African Americans?

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The Reconstruction was an influential period of time after the completion of the Civil War in which discussions and policies concerning the rights of African Americans in the United States were heavily discussed and debated. Some of the important changes during this time that affected the lives of African Americans included:

• Congress granted African American males the right to citizenship and the right to vote. These rights were directly tied to the 14th and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. 

• For the first time in U.S. history, blacks and white men participated together in the constitutional conventions held from 1867-1869.

• Because African Americans made up a large portion of the Republican party in the South, 265 African American delegates were elected to serve in state legislative bodies. More than 100 of these delegates had been born into slavery. This political representation allowed for African Americans to have a stronger voice regarding state and federal laws.

This Reconstruction also brought with it violence from the Ku Klux Klan. Though all problems were far from being resolved during this period, the Reconstruction set the stage for the decades of race relations that continue to this day.

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