Politics and Government

Politics During the Reconstruction

How was black America represented in political office during the Reconstruction?

Black Americans during the Reconstruction were represented at every level of government—local, state, and federal. They held numerous federal patronage appointments, such as postmaster, deputy U.S. marshal, treasury agent, and federal office clerk. They were also represented in virtually every county with a sizeable black population. Blacks were seen on county governing boards, police juries, boards of supervisors, and boards of police. Many free-born blacks were of mixed racial ancestry and so identified. Of those who were former slaves, ten black office holders escaped slavery before the Civil War. Most of these were born in Virginia, which made their flight north easier than from the Deep South. Some became militant leaders.


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