President Abraham Lincoln announces his reconstruction plan.
Congress passes its own reconstruction plan, as an alternative to Lincoln's plan.
President Andrew Johnson implements his reconstruction plan.
Southern legislators begin drafting "Black Codes" to re-establish white supremacy.
The Thirteenth Amendment is ratified, prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude.
The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified, evoking the three-fifths compromise in the Constitution and creating a new federal category of citizenship.
Congress grants black male citizens in the District of Columbia the right to vote.
Congress passes the first series of Reconstruction Acts. Congressional or "Radical" Reconstruction begins.
The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified, making male suffrage now the law of the land.
The Compromise of 1877 results in the end of military intervention in the South and marks the fall of the last radical government, restoring "home rule" in the South.
Tennessee passes the first of the "Jim Crow" segregation laws, segregating state railroads. Similar laws were passed over the next 15 years throughout the Southern states.
Southern states restricted African American voting rights in the 1890's by enforcing literacy tests they could not pass and poll taxes they could not pay. They were also intimidated if they voted, with threats of losing their jobs, being physically beaten, or even being lynched.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules that "separate but equal" public facilities for whites and African Americans are legal, and declares that segregation is not necessarily discrimination.
Sharecropping and tenant farming helped African Americans and poor whites to earn a living, but had negative effects. This crop-lien system kept many in an endless cycle of debt and poverty with little chance of owning their own land or resources.