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Unequal FreedomsEthnicity, Race, and White Supremacy in Civil War-Era Charleston$
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Jeff Strickland

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060798

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060798.001.0001

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Racial and Ethnic Relations during Reconstruction

Racial and Ethnic Relations during Reconstruction

(p.160) 5 Racial and Ethnic Relations during Reconstruction
Unequal Freedoms

Jeff Strickland

University Press of Florida

Racial and ethnic relations between African Americans, German and Irish immigrants, and white Southerners revealed cooperation and conflict during Reconstruction. White army enlisted men expressed their contempt for members of the United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.) and black Charlestonians, and they often expressed their disdain with violence against African Americans. African Americans exhibited their newfound freedom through elaborate parade rituals in the spring of 1865. Whites resisted the federal occupation and objected to black civil equality. Germans and African Americans did not experience the same level of conflict as white and black Charlestonians. Germans and African Americans sometimes lived in the same households, and they married, cohabitated, and bore children. German immigrants, therefore, defied racist conventions of white southerners while becoming family and friends with African Americans. Tensions between African Americans and Germans escalated in the early 1870s, and some black Charlestonians stole from German grocers and committed acts of violence against them. The chapter ends with the significance of the Fourth of July parade to black Charlestonians. In each parade, African Americans demonstrated a profound willingness to “become southern” and continually reconstructed a unique African American identity.

Keywords:   African American Festivals, Fourth of July, United States Colored Troops, Racial and Ethnic Relations, Race Conflict, Race Riot

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