Reconstruction Period Research Forum
• Congress passes the Thirteenth Amendment , abolishing slavery throughout the United States and its territories. It is ratified by the states later in the year.
• President Lincoln considers the possibility of returning all southern blacks to Africa but is advised that it is logistically impossible.
• Congress establishes the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, known as the Freedmen's Bureau , to provide aid to former slaves and others who have been displaced or impoverished by the war.
• The main Confederate field army surrenders at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, and the Civil War is brought to a close.
• Under the pen name "Rollin," Thomas Morris Chester—the only black journalist writing for a major daily newspaper at this time—reports on the Union Army's victory at Richmond, Virginia.
• Union general William T. Sherman issues Special Field Order No. 15. The order, popularly known as " forty acres and a mule ," sets aside forty-acre plots in Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida for African Americans, and authorizes the temporary loan of army horses and mules to newly-freed blacks. President Johnson later reverses the policy.
• John Sweat Rock becomes the first black attorney to be admitted to practice before the Supreme Court. However, he never argues any cases.
• John Wilkes Booth assassinates President Lincoln . Andrew Johnson becomes president.
• Black Codes , laws that sharply restrict blacks' freedom, are enacted by all-white legislatures in the former Confederate states.
• In December, President Johnson declares that the Reconstruction of the South is complete, yet most southern states deny even limited political rights to former slaves.
• Thousands of African Americans become depositors in the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company , chartered by the U.S. Congress, with business limited to African Americans.
• Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Minnesota deny the vote to blacks.