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Now, for the first time, black marriages could be solemnized and made legal. Wives and children were protected from the heartless whims of overseers and masters. In addition, blacks were free to try to locate loved ones from whom they had been separated for most of their lives. Finally, now that they were free, many black mothers were able to chose not to work, preferring to devote their time to their families. Even though former slaves were theoretically free to pursue any kind of employment they chose, many found themselves working on the same plantations and for the same masters they had known before emancipation.

Some northerners who had gone to the former Confederacy to help freed slaves were also killed. Despite its record of violence and murder, the Ku Klux Klan did not start as a terrorist organization. Any black who tried to vote or participate in politics was likely to be singled out for “punishment” by the Klan. The Klan used a variety of scare tactics. Their nightly rides through black areas were accompanied by blood-curdling whooping and yelling. Beatings, rape, and murder characterized the Klan.

A pan-African movement devoted to the political and geographical unification of Africans throughout the world started by Jamaican immigrant Marcus Garvey also drew attention. military uniform with a tall, plumed hat, he began to speak to crowds in Harlem about black nationalism. ” In his newspaper and his speeches he told blacks that they belonged in their ancestral home—Africa. Worldwide, his followers may have numbered as many as 2 million. Garvey created a number of all-black businesses as a way to build his African empire.

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American Black History by Walter Hazen

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