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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division

Thomas Nast, This is A White Man’s Government.

White Man's Government

Throughout the antebellum period, African Americans had struggled to find a place in their country. The Civil War, the end of slavery, and the constitutional amendments giving blacks citizenship and the franchise led many to hope that they would finally be fully part of American society. But those hopes were dashed with the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Emigration sentiment originated in the belief that racism and discrimination would not allow African Americans to live free and as equals. They felt that even though they had contributed a great deal to the nation, they would never be considered full citizens by the "white man's government."

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