Civil War to Civil Rights

Photo of African American man drinking from water fountain marked 'Colored.'

Though the Civil War began the movement to extend equality to African Americans, the promises of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments provide easier to accomplish in theory rather than in practice. The promising start towards racial equality soon faltered during the tensions of Reconstruction and laws were soon enacted across the country which enforced segregation of the races and the second-class status of African Americans.

Today, nearly 150 years since the end of the Civil War, people of all races, colors, creeds and beliefs continue the struggle to make America a nation where truly "all men are created equal."

Showing results 6-10 of 16

  • Gulf Islands National Seashore

    Exceeding Expectations

    Photo of African American soldier

    During the fight for freedom, African American soldiers were forced to deal with discrimination on a regular basis. For no other reason than possessing a different skin color, these men were perceived to be inferior troops. Yet over several fierce fights, men such as the Louisiana Native Guard proved their worth. Read more

  • Photograph of President Lincoln

    The emancipation of slaves in the United States was not an overnight decision, but a decision that needed to be structured in order to help win the war for the Union. Read more

  • Photo of three African American boys in a Union army camp

    For thousands of African Americans during the Civil War, Washington, D.C. was a beacon of freedom - and a place where they could work to assist the war effort. There they found themselves digging fortifications, driving wagons, or cooking, but as free men and women selling their services, many for the first time in their lives. Read more

  • Maggie L Walker National Historic Site

    Maggie L. Walker

    Portrait of Maggie L. Walker

    Maggie L. Walker led the African American community of Richmond, Virginia, in many aspects. She was involved in the struggle for civil rights and maintained her successful banking and newspaper businesses and charitable societies. Read more

  • Photo of Niagara Movement members, including W.E.B. DuBois (seated), at Niagara Conference in Harpers Ferry

    To combat the injustices of Jim Crow laws and legal segregation, W.E.B. Du Bois and other leading civil rights advocates created the Niagara Movement and held their first public meeting at Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, invoking the spirit of John Brown. Read more

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