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By Walter Hazen

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Extra resources for American Black History

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Almost everywhere, there was a curfew. Blacks had to be off the streets after sundown. When the South enacted their “black codes,” the federal government stepped in and sent troops to protect the rights of African-American citizens. This period of American history is referred to as the Reconstruction era. Almost overnight, the problem of some 4,000,000 former slaves had to be addressed. How would they care for themselves? They possessed no education or marketable skills. How would they be treated by their former southern masters?

These problems were a concern of President Andrew Johnson and the Congress after the Thirteenth Amendment went into effect. Southern states thought they had the answer. They had no intention of recognizing blacks as their equals. In 1865, the governor of Mississippi expressed the views of many southerners when he Review and Write 1. What was the purpose of the “black codes” enacted by southern legislatures? 2. Briefly summarize how the “black codes” affected the South’s 4,000,000 freed slaves. With this reply, the beating continued.

His books of poetry include The Weary Blues and The Dream Keeper—the latter a book of poems for children. African Americans from the Mississippi Delta region brought with them blues music, which developed from African rhythms, gospel hymns, and slave songs, while jazz was introduced 45 © Milliken Publishing Company to the North from New Orleans. Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and W. C. Handy stand out as three of the greatest AfricanAmerican musicians of the period. Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington became famous when his jazz band played before white audiences at the Cotton Club in Harlem in the late 1920s.

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