What rights did the african american woman achieve during the reconstruction?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps we should begin an answer to this question by pointing out an important right that African-American women did not receive. They did not gain the right to vote, which was granted to African-American men by the Fifteenth Amendment. White women did not, of course, receive this right either. While black women benefited from the end of slavery, and from some government assistance provided under Reconstruction, and more than a few took advantage of new schools opened for African-American girls, their gains were limited even at the height of Reconstruction. On the other hand, black women were notably active in politics during the period, participating in women's clubs and voting in mass meetings within various black communities. Some others worked as teachers. Much of this was to the consternation not just of southern whites, many of whom objected to all black involvement in politics, but among black men, some of whom did not approve of women operating in the public sphere. The vast majority of black women, however, worked as farm laborers and domestic employees, jobs not dissimilar from what they did under slavery. The gains made by black women during Reconstruction were limited both by their race and their gender.

Source: Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988).

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