The Civil War destroyed slavery, but it did not bring to the Negro the freedom for which he had given his blood. In the years that followed the conflict, the Federal Government made many promises to the Negro of full rights, citizenship, land, education, human dignity, and freedom. By the end of the nineteenth century, these promises had been repudiated. A relatively small number of Southern whites continued, as before the Civil War, to control the economic resources of the South and, above all, the land. This fact alone doomed the Negro to a role of continued subordination and inferiority in the Southern system. Between the end of Reconstruction (usually dated from the disputed Hayes-Tilden election of 1876‐ 1877) and the end of the century the Negro fell, or was pushed, back into a voteless, nameless, landless, rightless, poverty‐ stricken obscurity. Negro men, women, and children lived on in the draughty shacks of slavery days, picking cotton in the fields from sunup to sundown for a bare existence.
Segregation was so fundamental a feature of slave life that it endured long after the institution of slavery itself had been abolished. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Southern states enacted segregation codes that gave the explicit sanction of law to traditional Southern practices. Desperately afraid that the Negro might break out of the isolation imposed upon him and play a new and creative role in the political life of the section, Southern legislators passed laws that openly forbade the Negro to soil the white man's world. A Negro could not drink at the same fountain, sit in the same school, eat at the same table, or ride in the same car, as a white person; and he could not marry a white woman.
Retribution for the Negro who "got out of line" was swift.
After the Civil War, the practice of leasing out convicts to private companies for forced labor became widespread. The most trifling offense might spell a sentence of months of work on the roads and the railroads, in the mines or on the levees. * Utilization of convicts in this way not only enriched the private operator but also reduced taxation. The leasing system encouraged wild irresponsibility and horrifying brutality in the use and abuse of human beings; even when it fell into____________________