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Early Gains and Losses
It is debatable if one can call the Emancipation Proclamation a "Civil Rights" document since it freed no one at the time President Lincoln issued it, but its most immediate impact was the influx of African Americans into the Union Army. After the Civil War, three amendments were added to the U.S. Constitution ending slavery (the 13th), defining citizenship (the 14th), and protecting voting rights (the 15th). Hundreds of federal court cases from South Carolina document the federal government's attempt to enforce these voting rights in the 1870 congressional elections.

The Civil Rights Act of 1875 guaranteed equal access to public facilities; however, in 1883, the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. This Supreme Court ruling, along with another one in 1896, neutralized the gains made in Civil Rights during the years immediately following the Civil War. Thus began the Jim Crow era in the South, where a system of peonage, lynching, and other gross civil rights violations became a way of life.
Draft Muster

Draft Muster Roll

1864

Medical Register

Medical Register

October 1864

Interment of U.S. Colored Troops

Interment of USCT

September-October 1864

The Right To Vote

The Right To Vote

1871

Peonage in Alabama

Peonage

May 1903

Travesty Upon Justice

"Travesty Upon Justice..."

May 1903

Robinson v. Memphis and Charleston Railroad

Railroad Lawsuit

1880-1884

 
Leo M. Frank

Leo Frank

1920-1921

 
Train Porters

Train Porters

1920-1921