1865 Jefferson Davis authorizes the enlistment of blacks into
the Conferate Army.
1865 The Confederacy surrenders.
1865 The Ku Klux Klan is formed with the purpose of reasserting white supremacy in the South.
1865 Legislatures in many states enact black codes. These codes impose heavy penalties for "vagrancy", "insulting gestures", "curfew violations", and "seditious speeches." South Carolina requires blacks entering the state to post a $1,000 bond in guarantee of good behavior and entitles employers to whip black employees.
1865 Abraham Lincoln is assassinated; Andrew Johnson becomes president.
1865 The Thirteenth Amendment, officially abolisheding slavery, is ratified.
1865 Congress establishes the Freedman's Bureau.
1865 Atlanta University holds its first classes for freed slaves in abandoned railway cars.
1866 In a race riot in Memphis, 48 people are killed, including two white sympathizers. Thirty-five blacks are killed in a riot in New Orleans.
1866 Congress passes civil rights legislation to nullify black codes adopted by many southern states.
1866 In the District of Columbia, a referendum on black sufferage fails.
1866 Congress passes the Fourteenth Amendment despite opposition from President Johnson.
1866 Congress passes the First Reconstruction Act over President Johnson's veto.
1867 Iowa and the Dakota Territory grant sufferage to blacks.
1867 Nebraska is admitted into the Union.
1868 Ulysses S. Grant is elected president of the United States.
1868 Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, later Hampton Universtiy, is founded by Samuel Chapman Armstrong and the American Missionary Association.
1868 The fourteenth Amendment is ratified, establisheding the concept of equal protection for all citizens under the United States Constitution.
1869 Congress passes the Fifteenth Amendment.
1870 The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, guareenteeing all citizens the right to vote, is ratified.
1870 Congress enactes the Enforcement Acts designed to protect blacks exercising Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment rights.
1870 Hiram R. Revels, of Mississippi, becomes the first African American elected teh United States Senate when he is elected to replace Jefferson Davis, former president of the Confederacy.
1870 Joseph H. Rainey, of South Carolina, and Jefferson F. Long, of Georgia, are the first black elected members of the House of Representatives.
1871 Congress enacts the Ku Klux Klan Act to enforce the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment.
1872 Ulysses S. Grant is reelected.
1872 Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback becomes the first black governor of Louisana.
1874 Blanche K. Bruce is elected to the United States Senate. Bruce is the first black to serve a full term in office.
1875 Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1875 prohibiting discrimination in such public accomodations as hotels, theaters, and amusement parks.
1876 Rutherford B. Hayes is elected president of the United States.
1876 Colorado is admitted into the Union.
1876 In United States v. Cruikshank, the Court declares that the Fourteenth Amendment provides blacks with equal protection under the law but does not add anything "to the rights which one citizen has under the Constitution against another." The Court rules that "the right of suffrage is not a necessay attibute of national citizenship."
1877 The Compromise of 1877 brings Reconstruction to an end.
1877 Fredrick Douglass is appointed United States marshal for the District of Columbia.
1878 In the case Hall v. Decuir the United States Supreme Court rules that states cannot prohibit segregation on public transportation.
1879 Upon hearing the case of Strauder v. West Virginia the United States Supreme Court rules that the Fourteenth Amendment insures for blacks all rights that under law are enjoyed by whites.
1879 In a separate case, Ex parte Virginia , the Court ruled that one of the purposes of both the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments was to raise the condition of blacks to one of perfect equality with whites.
1880 James Garfield is elected president.
1881 President James Garfield is assassinated; Chester A. Arthur becomes president.
1881 Tennessee passes a "Jim Crow" railroad law that sets a trend soon taken up by Florida (1887), Mississippi (1888), and Texas (1889), Louisana (1890), and a host of other southern states and border states.
1881 Booker T. Washington opens Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute with a $2,000 appropriation from the Alabama legislature.
1883 Upon hearing a set of cases challenging the Civil Rights Act of 1875, the United States Supreme Court declares the act unconstitutional.
1884 Grover Cleveland is elected president of the United States.
1888 Benjamin Harrison is elected president.
1889 Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington are admitted to the Union.
1889 Fredrick Douglass is appointed consul-general to the Republic of Haiti.
1890 Congressman Henry Cabot Lodge sponsors the Federal Elections, of Force bill, to protect the voting rights of blacks.
1890 The Mississippi constitutional convention begins the systematic exclusion of blacks from the political arena by adopting poll taxes and literacy tests as prerequisites to voting. Seven other southern states follow suit.
1890 In the In re Green decision, the United States Supreme Court sanctions control of elections by state officals, thus weakening federal protection for southern black voters.
1890 In the case Louisville, New Orleans & Texas Railway v. Mississippi the Court permits states to segregate public transportation facilities.
1890 Idaho and Wyoming are admitted into the Union.
1892 Grover Cleveland is elected president for a second term.
1895 Booker T. Washington delivers his famous "Atlanta Compromise" speech at the Cotton States International Exposition.
1895 Fredrick Douglass dies at his home in Washington.
1896 William McKinley is elected president.
1896 The United States Supreme Court in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision upholds the doctrine of "separate but equal."
1896 Utah is admitted into the Union.
1897 Hearing the case Williams v. Mississippi, the United States Supreme Court rules that because the Mississippi state constitution, which prescribed a poll tax and literacy test as a prerequisite to voting, did not mention race such devices were not in conflict with the Fifteenth Amendment.
1898 The addition of a "grandfather clause" to the Louisiana state constitution enables poor whites to qualify for the franchise while curtailing black voter registration.
1898 Ida B. Wells leads a delegation to President McKinley to protest lynching.