‘Federal Government Was the Main Obstacle to the Achievements of African American Civil Rights Between 1865 and 1945.’ How Far Do You Agree?

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‘Federal government was the main obstacle to the achievements of African American civil rights between 1865 and 1945.’ How far do you agree? African Americans fight to gain civil rights was a long one; politically they aimed to get the right to vote and to exercise this right. Federal government allowed anti-civil rights groups to deter African Americans from utilising their vote and in 1866 ‘black codes’ were enforced which further prohibited Africa Americans from voting. Federal government allowed states to have control over passing their own laws which states manipulated to prevent African Americans from exercising their political rights won through the fifteenth amendment in 1869. After 1869 federal government remained an obstacle throughout this time period. The Supreme Court ruling of the US vs Reese case in 1875 supported Kentucky officials who turned away black voters, and so marked the way for further discrimination against black voters. The voting qualifications further restricted African Americans from exercising their political rights and was legalised by the Mississippi vs Williams case. Federal government failed to discourage anti civil rights groups whose main targets were black voters and so greatly inhibited the slow progression of African American civil rights. However, state government was also a major obstacle in achieving the vote for African Americans. This is because many states were unwilling to grant blacks the vote and so various means were used to prevent this from happening. For example South Carolina refused to prosecute members of the KKK, allowing the anti-civil rights group to terrorize African Americans, stopping them from voting through fear. ‘Black codes’ varied from state to state and were used to prevent blacks from voting or serving on juries. Most states also enforced voting qualifications such a literacy tests and a tax,
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