- from MLK Jr.
In 1861, a conflict broke out in the United States. The Civil War lasted until 1865. It almost tore the U.S. apart.
The nation fought over slavery, among other things. Slavery was then illegal in the North. But it was legal in the South. The southern states refused to change. They left the Union to form their own group. On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. It gave more than 3 million enslaved persons in the South their freedom. In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution ended slavery. It was one of the most important acts in American history. But what is “freedom”? That depends on the world in which a person lives. After the war, many southern states passed laws that limited the rights of blacks. Why? In both the North and the South, racism—the belief that one race is better than another—was a part of life.
After the Civil War came the Reconstruction. It lasted from 1865 to 1877. During this time, Federal troops were sent into the South to protect blacks.