Shrey Gulati 1/8/18 Was Reconstruction Successful? When Reconstruction began in 1865, a broken America had just finished fighting in the Civil War. Reconstruction was a time period of rebuilding and regrowth among the northern and southern states. During this time the Blacks were trying to fit into the white society yet even after the passage of thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteen amendments Blacks were still not truly equal. The whites on the other hand still treated Blacks as if they were still slaves and made them pay poll taxes as a way for them not to vote. In many ways, it failed to elevate freed slaves into anything of educational or economic equality. Reconstruction began in 1865 and ended in 1877, it took place in the southern part of the US. The Reconstruction Era was not successful because of the Black Codes and the decision made in the Plessy v. Ferguson case (Wynne). One reason why Reconstruction was not successful is because of the Black Codes. The Black Codes restricted freed slaves rights throughout the country. Blacks were forced to sign labor contracts and if they refused they would be arrested. These contracts prevented African Americans from working for more than one employer which caused them to receive low wages and poor working conditions (Weiss). Vagrancy Laws were included in the Black Codes because of the concern that freed slaves would leave their communities and reduce the labor supply. The Vagrancy Laws allowed police to arrest people merely on the suspicion they were about to do something illegal. The Vagrancy Laws in the Black Codes meant that an unemployed, homeless freed slave could be arrested for no reason whatsoever (Kadue). Some states required Blacks to work in chain gangs in the fields. The Black Codes gave rise to a new wave of radical Republicanism in Congress, and the eventual move towards enshrining racial equality into the Constitution. However, black codes also resulted in the Jim Crow laws which enforced racial segregation. Overall the Black Codes made life much harder for the Blacks and enforced white supremacy (History.com Staff). Another reason why Reconstruction was not successful is because of the decision made in the Plessy v. Ferguson case. In 1892, in a planned act of civil disobedience, Plessy boarded a train in New Orleans and sat in the car reserved for whites only. Plessy, a man who was one-eighth black, but classified as black by Louisiana state law herefused to leave in order to trigger a case about the legality of segregation. In 1896, after years of trials the Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” was fair, and was not a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment requiring equal protection to all. This ruling signaled the federal government’s and North’s unwillingness to challenge segregation or the oppression of blacks in the South. Due to the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, segregation became even more well established throughout US. Many schools, theaters, restaurants, and transportation cars were segregated. Poll taxes, literacy requirements, and grandfather clauses not only prevented blacks from voting, but also made them ineligible to serve on jury pools or run for office.