No Easy Walk to Freedom: Reconstruction and the Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment

By James E. Bond | Go to book overview
Unification on the basis of perfect equality of whites and blacks. We abhor it in every fibre of our being. 106
The battle between the races for supremacy . . . must be fought out here . . . boldly and squarely; the issue cannot be satisfactorily adjusted by a repulsive commingling of antagonistic races, and the promulgation of platforms enunciating as the political tenets of the people of Louisiana the vilest Socialist doctrines. 107

By the end of the summer, the movement was dead." 108 There were no formal rites, as there was none for the Jubilee. It too was fading, and no one would publicly mourn its silent passing a few years later. By then, blacks and their erstwhile white allies had lost the decade-long guerrilla struggle with negrophobic whites. One of the casualties of that struggle was the Fourteenth Amendment. It, too, proved to be "an exotic" unsuited to racist climes. "By 1880," comments Joe G. Taylor, "black Louisianans were back almost to where they had been in 1860." 109


NOTES
1.
Joe G. Taylor, Louisiana Reconstructed 1863-1877 ( Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1974), 94. The 1860 census listed 10,689 free persons of color in Orleans Parish. This number "included . . . substantial merchants, cotton factors, caterers, doctors and lawyers, even newspaper editors and poets." Harlan, "Desegregation in New Orleans Public Schools," American Historical Review 67 ( April 1962): 663, 674. See generally Annie Lee West Stahl, "The Free Negro in Ante-Bellum Louisiana," Louisiana Historical Quarterly 25 ( April 1942): 301.
2.
Joe G. Taylor, "Louisiana: An Impossible Task," in Reconstruction and Redemption in the South, ed. Otto H. Olsen ( Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1980), 203.
3.
R. Fischer, The Segregation Struggle in Louisiana, 1862-1877 ( Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 11. New Orleans, with a population of two hundred thousand, was linked to both continental Europe and Latin America by its cultural heritage and trading relationships. Colored residents lived throughout the city; and many of them worshiped alongside whites in the city's Catholic churches, which held desegregated services. Visitors to the city frequently commented on the relaxed racial attitudes that set New Orleans apart from other Southern cities. See, e.g., New Orleans Times, 1 July 1877 (letter to editor from "A Frenchman").
4.
Vincent Harding, There Is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America ( San Antonio: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981), 256-57 ( Tribune sought to redefine the Civil War by tying it "to the best egalitarian traditions of the unfinished American Revolution"). See also F. Leavens, "L'Union and the New Orleans Tribune and Louisiana Reconstruction" (M.A. thesis, Louisiana State University, 1966), 17 ("From the beginning, L'Union advocated . . . civil and political equality").
5.
L'Union, 6 December 1862, quoted in L. Rouzan, "A Rhetorical Analysis of Editorials in L'Union and the New Orleans Tribune" (Ph.D. diss., Florida State University, 1989),45.

-95-

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No Easy Walk to Freedom: Reconstruction and the Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - The Remembered Past of the Fourteenth Amendment 1
  • Notes 10
  • 2 - Ratification in Tennessee 15
  • Notes 26
  • 3 - Ratification in Mississippi 33
  • Notes 47
  • 4 - Ratification in North Carolina 53
  • Notes 65
  • 5 - Ratification in Louisiana 75
  • Notes 95
  • 6 - Ratification in Alabama 101
  • Notes 114
  • 7 - Ratification in South Carolina 121
  • Notes 137
  • 8 - Ratification in Virginia 143
  • Notes 158
  • 9 - Ratification in Florida 169
  • Notes 183
  • 10 - Ratification in Arkansas 189
  • Notes 205
  • 11 - Ratification in Texas 211
  • Notes 225
  • 12 - Ratification in Georgia 231
  • Notes 245
  • 13 - The Imagined Future of the Fourteenth Amendment 251
  • Notes 272
  • Selected Bibliography 275
  • Index 289
  • About the Author 297
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