In what ways was life during Reconstruction difficult for African Americans? 

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Life was difficult for African Americans during Reconstruction. It was very difficult to go from a life where a person was always told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, and then be placed in a situation where that person now had to make those decisions alone. Additionally, the former slaves were used to having all their basic needs handled by their owners. Now they were responsible for their own food, shelter, and clothing. It was a big and difficult adjustment going from dependency to independence.

Life was difficult because the former slaves had few skills, little education, and limited funds. It was hard to get a job because of the lack of education and skills. There were people who refused to hire the former slaves. A system of sharecropping developed that kept slaves in a perpetual state of poverty and near slavery-like conditions. Since the former slaves had little or no money, it was difficult for them to get basic and needed supplies.

Since many white southerners didn’t want the slaves to be freed or have equality, African Americans had to overcome this obstacle also. Attitudes in the South were very hostile to the former slaves. Life was very difficult for the former slaves after the Civil War ended and when Reconstruction existed.

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