From Reconstruction to the Nadir, 1867–1908

Alton Hornsby

in Black Power in Dixie

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780813032825
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038537 | DOI:
From Reconstruction to the Nadir, 1867–1908

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This chapter discusses the political history of African Americans in Atlanta after they emerged as free men and women from the reigns of bondage. African Americans who emerged from the chains of bondage shared the same faith with the freed persons of the south. Most of these newly freed people were economically challenged and illiterate wherein most of them depended on the basic needs, shelter, and rudimentary education provided by the Freedmen's Bureau and the northern missionary societies. However, by 1867, a school was established which became the first black institution for higher education and which initiated the creation of five other schools dedicated to the higher education needs of the black. The first established school, the Atlanta University Center (AUC), became the catalyst for change and development among the black middle and upper classes. Businesses emerged and the number of educated blacks increased. With the newly acquired higher education, literate blacks began to play an important role in the advent of their acquired freedom to vote and right to suffrage. In the elections that proceeded, blacks actively participated in casting their votes and in attempting to acquire governmental seats wherein they gained leverage after years of being neglected and restrained from involvement on the national scene and the public sphere. While blacks gained the freedom to vote, they were often cast aside, marginalized as an insignificant voting power and eliminated as a powerful black political influence. But the black voters and African Americans revived their black politics and continued to create a complex interplay and influence on American politics.

Keywords: African Americans; vote; suffrage; elections; voting power; black political influence; black voters

Chapter.  7268 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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