What was the Reconstruction period?
Following the American Civil War, the United States government made a concerted effort to help rebuild the Southern states decimated by the war. This is referred to as the Reconstruction period, which lasted approximately from 1865–1877. During Reconstruction, former slaves and African Americans in general benefited from Reconstruction policies that expanded rights for free men. This, unsurprisingly, angered former slave owners and racist politicians, who enacted a series of prejudiced laws designed to segregate African Americans and strip them of their rights. These new laws—called “Black Codes”—eventually developed into the Jim Crow system of segregation, which spread throughout the South and had long-lasting effects on the black population.