While African Americans were technically free during this time, there were many ways in which they were not truly free.
Of course, African Americans were not enslaved during Reconstruction. During part of that period, they even had the right to vote and the right to hold office. However, for much of Reconstruction, they were not truly free in many places. During Reconstruction, many African Americans were intimidated by the KKK and other groups and even suffered violence at their hands. During Reconstruction, African Americans were denied the chance to get land that had belonged to plantation owners and, thereby, to make a new life for themselves. In these ways and others, African Americans lacked true freedom even though they were not enslaved.