Representative Robbins introduced a bill in December 1869 to prevent discrimination on steamboats. None of the bills passed. 108 The debates on school legislation revealed a sense that the Fourteenth Amendment did not necessarily command integration. Even the black delegates generally took the view that "social mixing should be allowed but not forced." 109 Thus Senator Galloway answered a proposal that the galleries be segregated by suggesting instead that each race should have a side with a middle section kept open for both. 110
The debate on the militia bills confirmed the apparently widespread belief that separate but equal treatment would insure blacks the equal protection of the laws. In August 1868, legislation for the reorganization of the state militia was introduced. 111 It passed, despite the fact that Representative Leary opposed the bill because Section 3 called for racially separate militia and because Section 13 of a substitute bill promised that white and black members would not have to serve together. 112 Indeed, seven of the ten black representatives voted for it; and all three black senators voted for the bill. 113 Some black delegates doubtless compromised their insistence on equal treatment in order to secure protection against the reign of terror that the Klan had already begun to inflict upon blacks and their friends. 114 Indeed, the conservative Democratic leadership considered the Klan "a god-send" because it "reduced the number of Negro voters through intimidation" and "[drew] out a larger and more unified white vote." 115 That blacks had to make that concession in order to obtain police protection from a legislature sympathetic to their needs only dramatized how narrowly those who favored equal protection viewed its scope.
Even that commitment vanished within a few years. The much-maligned Albion Tourgee had seen the bleak future the newly freed slaves faced in North Carolina even as the Reconstruction Acts were being passed in the spring of 1867. In fact, he had opposed those acts precisely because "they lacked effective federal implementation and were dependent upon southern Republican strength." He predicted that "the mass of poor, uneducated, and inexperienced Negro and white Republicans would not long succeed against the wealth, ability, and power which opposed them." 116