The concerns of Blacks within Vicksburg with the ascent of President Johnson to the White House were realized when President Johnson appointed Mississippi Supreme Court Judge William Sharkey as Provisional Governor. Governor Sharkey, despite being a staunch Unionist before and during the war, did not allow Black citizens to participate in a new state constitutional convention called forth in August of 1865. The new Mississippi state constitution acknowledged the abolition of slavery but did not give any civil rights protections to African Americans. By November of 1865, a state-wide election is organized and the white voters of Mississippi elected many former Confederates into state and local offices. With a solid control over both Mississippi state and local governments and the promises of President Johnson to stay out of the state’s affairs, in January of 1866 the state legislature began initiating the Black Code of Mississippi, which relegated African Americans to a second-class citizens and required all former slaves to sign an annual labor contract to work on the plantations. To prevent Blacks from voting a system of poll taxes were initiated to prevent Blacks from political participation.
With the threat to restore the Antebellum order within Vicksburg African Americans began voicing their opposition to the post-war order. With the help of idealistic whites based in the South, they lobbied officials within Congress to stand against both President Johnson and the Southern white political leadership.