This Week in Reconstruction, June 1-7, 1866

White Richmonders claim to be struggling under the burden of the new city tax in addition to heavy federal and state taxes. They remember their fallen Confederate soldiers through honoring their graves and praising their values and character. Southern Baptists preach that the only way assimilation for blacks and immigrants is possible is through the gospel, not by education or knowledge. (The Richmond paper enjoys noting that The New Haven Board of Education bans black children from their public schools.) Blacks use the Civil Rights act to their advantage, bringing up past incidents such as previous mistreatment and murder committed by their former owners. White Southerners argue that the act violates the constitution and those who voted for it- the Radicals- have betrayed the nation and convicted themselves of promoting unlawful ideals. Blacks form a group to meet in New York strategizing how to quickly earn their suffrage. Fear of whites by blacks starts to dissipate; more instances of criminal action between white authority and blacks are reported. Over half of black prisoners in the Virginia State Penitentiary are in confinement for offenses against military authority. The Freedmen's Bureau of Virginia reports that there has been an increase in freedmen engaging in labor and punishments for white perpetrators committing ill treatment against blacks. Johnson debates with the Radicals over seceded states' requirements for being readmitted into the Union while Stevens and his supporters serve threats of Johnson's impeachment. Democrats meet to agree on election decisions; they contemplate whether they should support Union conservatives in locations where they are a minority party or put total support in full-on Democrats. Virginia expects to ratify the new constitutional amendment because white voters are agitated with the slow progress of Reconstruction.

Contributed By

Brooke Beam