Future For African Americans in North Carolina
In North Carolina, R. W. Lassiter of Granville County lectured about the problem facing both races, and how the institution of slavery had convinced both whites and blacks to assume their respective roles in southern society. Moreover, he focused on southerners’ staunch perspective on racial equality, claiming that “the passions and prejudices of men have gone beyond any known rule of justice, and the man who dares to claim only even justice for the colored race is forthwith denounced in unsparing terms without reason.” (Item #2823) In North Carolina, the black population had been considered free—hence the name “freedmen”—but their definition of freedom varied greatly across the state. After the federal government enacted the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment, Lassiter claimed that “the colored people are free, and the laws of the land have made them so, and imposed upon them burdens of the Government.” (Item #2823) With the recent admission of southern states into the Union, social and cultural tensions were now supervised by state governments, often prejudiced in their practices. As an article featured in The Weekly Standard contested, the President’s lack of interest in North Carolina’s welfare informed Congress that no further steps need be taken further than “to admit her Senators and Representatives in Congress.” (Item #2824) With less federal obligations to oversee the entire country, states like North Carolina felt cheated and gravitated toward old tradition, ultimately strengthening the political and economic gap between whites and blacks.