The Civil War (1861-1865), fought largely over the future of slavery in the United States, marked a watershed in the nation's history, particularly for African Americans. The Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, Union victory at War and the subsequent Reconstruction Amendments to the Constitution promised a new dawn for the South's four million freed men, women and children.
But in the 1870s, as Reconstruction faltered and the Freedmen's Bureau retreated, the gains made by African Americans were peeled back, replaced by the discriminatory policies marking the "Jim Crow" era. Reconstruction had failed, and the long battle for Civil Rights in the United States had begun. It culminated, one hundred years after the Civil War, in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Reconstruction in South Carolina was an era defined by volatile political struggles over who would determine the past meanings and future directions of power in the state. The new State Constitution in 1868 introduced revolutionary democratic changes, including removing the race and property barriers for obtaining the right to vote. With a black population majority voting, many African Americans in the Republican Party became elected state officials for the first time in history. Despite various attempts at negotiation and "fusion" government policies, the tensions between Republicans and Democrats eventually erupted into violent conflicts, particularly during the 1876 gubernatorial campaign. White Democrats, led by former Confederate general Wade Hampton, ultimately regained political power, particularly with the end of federal enforcement of Reconstruction in 1877. The rights that African Americans in South Carolina fought to obtain during this era eroded under the new regime, particularly with the reinforcement of the 1865 Black Codes as Jim Crow laws in the 1890s, which would not begin to be repealed in the United States until the 1950s.
This timeline charts the reconstruction events that occurred in North Carolina from the establishment of the Roanoke Island colony in 1862 through to the election of former confederate Zebulon Vance as North Carolina Governor in 1876.