Woodward Racial relations prior to Jim Crow foreshadowed future

Woodward believes that race relations between the blacks and whites in the south have been heavily influenced by the institution of slavery in the past and the continuous dominance of the white race. Racial relations prior to Jim Crow foreshadowed future segregation as neither race were on good terms with one another. Even during the antebellum period, there was constant discrimination to all slaves regardless if they were free or not. In fact Woodward even states, “There is not much in the record that supports the legend of racial harmony in slavery times, but there is much evidence of contact” (Woodward 13) proving that there was correlation between the races to some extent, however it lacked unison and amity which led to future impediments and hindrances on equality. After the Civil War, African Americans were ultimately free and despite what they have been through, they only expressed gratitude and disregarded hatred. Soon enough, Blacks were able to practice free religion and withdrew from the Protestant Church. This voluntary separation had begun to shape race relations and was one of the many causes of future segregation. In addition, race relations were incapable of stabilizing as there were an abundance of violent reactions, contradictions, and revolutionary innovations. However, despite those troubles, according to Woodward, “Racial relations of the old-regime pattern often persisted stubbornly into the new order and met head-on with interracial encounters of an entirely new and sometimes equalitarian type” (26). The faces of many African Americans began to appear in unexpected areas such as the jury box and the council chamber. During the reconstruction, there was a possibility of amalgamating both races due to the newly granted rights for the blacks. However, paralleling the idiom of all good things must come to an end, intermixture wasn’t destined to endure. Woodward lastly adds that prior to the Jim Crow Laws, “neither race had time to become fully accustomed to the change or feel natural in the relationship…It was impossible to conceive interracial experiments and contacts of the 1860’s taking place in the 1900’s” (29). I believe this statement to be true due to the previous examples of both races affiliating with different religions and how the races only contained a brief period of integration before more resistance to intermixing came about. Both races were different in nature and therefore weren’t able to connect on a more personal level. Along with that, negrophobia strongly subsisted within many white citizens which eliminated the possibility of unification. However, I believe that if reconstruction following the Civil War had been better handled, racial amalgamation may have eventuated much sooner. Instead of associating labels of inferiority and superiority, citizens should have promoted social acceptance which would have transpired more opportunities and eliminated extensive amounts of unnecessary violence.

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