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History of Negro Citizenship
700                CHURCH REVIEW.

with the same security enjoyed by other races? He
was ignorant; would the South aid him in educating
his children, and in acquiring some knowledge of the
mechanical arts with the privilege of working at such
callings as were best adapted to him ?
  These were fundamental  questions.      The answer
which the South should return to them would natural-
ly, and justly, be regarded as the highest test of their
loyalty and good faith in accepting the results of the
war.  What that answer was is now a matter of history.
It proved to be the crisis in the history of the recon-
struction. It determined the ultimate form of recon-
struction, and it is well to remember that if the South
feels bitter at the recollection of this period of her histo-
ry, she has no one but herself to blame.
  Had she acted wisely and humanely at this critical
moment, the whole vast subject of re-establishing her
social and political fabric would have been left largely
in her own hands.
  Now for the facts. Had the South determined to
gain in the halls of the legislature what she had lost on
the field of battle, it is difficult to imagine what other
course she could have pursued than the one chosen.
They treated the Negro precisely as in former years, as
possessing no rights which a white man was bound to
respect.  A  criminal code was framed almost exclu-
sively for him, creating a class of offenses which had
no application to white men.  Apprentice laws largely
destroyed his liberty to sell his labor at a fair market
price. Almost all freedom of movement was taken
away by special laws of vagrancy. Almost all the
avenues of usefulness in the trades and professions in
which he might come into competition with his neigh-
bors in white, were practically barred to him by vexa-
tious regulations and excessive fees. Louisiana forbade
her laborers to keep any live stock, and should they
leave their employer without his consent, they were to
be arrested and assigned to labor on some public works


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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 15, Num. 3

History of Negro Citizenship


Volume:  15
Issue Number:  03
Page Number:  689
Date:  01/1899


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