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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

1870-1880 Events


The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified.

The Mississippi legislature elects Hiram Revels to the U.S. Senate; Revels becomes the first black senator.

Joseph Rainey of Georgia is the first African American to be elected to the House of Representatives.

Reacting to Ku Klux Klan (KKK) violence, Congress passes the first of the Force Acts , mandating heavy penalties for interfering with a citizen's right to vote.

According to the census, 4,880,009 black people live in the U.S., which represents 12.3 percent of the total U.S. population.


The Civil Rights Act of 1871 provides for equal access to public accommodations without regard to race.

P. B. S. Pinchback becomes lieutenant governor of Louisiana and is made acting governor the following year. He is the first African-American governor.


Elijah McCoy patents the first automatic lubricator for steam-driven locomotives.

President Grant is reelected, once again drawing substantial black support.

Charlotte Ray becomes the first African-American woman in the United States to receive a law degree, graduating from Howard University Law School. A month later, she is admitted to the bar, becoming the first black woman lawyer in the U.S.


In the county of Grant Parish, Louisiana, African Americans set up armed resistance around the county seat of Colfax for fear that white Democrats will take over the government from the Radical Republicans. They hold Colfax for three weeks until the whites overrun the town, slaughtering approximately three hundred blacks. It is the worst incident of racial violence during the Reconstruction period.


Lewis Howard Latimer patents his first invention, an improved bathroom compartment for railroad cars.

The federally-sponsored Freedman's Savings and Trust Company closes, with sixty-one thousand black depositors losing nearly $3 million.


The Civil Rights Act of 1875 states that there can be no discrimination in public places or on public means of transportation within the United States, strengthening the terms of the Civil Rights Act of 1871 .

Carrying clubs, black women in South Carolina ensure that, on election day, black men have access to polling places all over the state.

Blanche K. Bruce of Mississippi takes his seat in the U.S. Senate. Until the mid-twentieth century, he is the only black person to serve a full Senate term.

After a campaign of voter intimidation, Democrats win majorities in both houses of the Mississippi legislature, thus returning the leadership of the state to conservative whites.


Edward Bannister , a landscape painter, wins the gold medal in the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition for Under the Oaks.


Republican Rutherford B. Hayes is declared the winner of the disputed presidential election of 1876. In return for southern support, he agrees to withdraw the last federal troops from the South and abandon federal efforts to safeguard black rights, ending Reconstruction .

The all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas, is founded.


Two hundred and six black emigrants set sail from Charleston, South Carolina, for Liberia aboard the Azor.


Thousands of blacks migrate from the South to the West, led by Pap Singleton and others, in the "Exodus of '79."


According to the census, 6,580,793 black people live in the U.S., which represents 13.1 percent of the total U.S. population.

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1870-1880 Events

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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