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By Richard Worth

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Sample text

Many white Southerners wanted African Americans to have separate churches. Some well-to-do whites even gave African Americans land for a church and helped them put up a building. Thousands of African Americans joined the Baptist Church or the African Methodist Episcopal Church. On Sundays, these church services were attended by large congregations. Describing one of these congregations, a newspaper reporter wrote, “Overflowing all the church-yard, flooding the road, through which . . ” Services were held not only on Sundays but also during the week.

The Early Days of Reconstruction · 37 A N A F R I C A N - A M E R I C A N R E VO LT Many white Southerners feared that the free African Americans might start a revolution. Slave revolts had occurred several times in the past. Before the Civil War, slaves were given a holiday at Christmas and New Year’s. This was a time when whites were especially afraid that African Americans might lave uprisings occurred in escape from their plantations South Carolina in 1739. and begin a revolt. Such fear Another attempted revolt was arose before Christmas 1865.

In Mississippi, for example, each African American adult had to prove that he or she had a job at the start of each year. This usually meant employment on a plantation. Any workers who left their jobs on plantations before the end of n the plantations, white the year lost all their wages. owners paid blacks who Anyone who did not have a still worked there as little as job—a person known as a possible. Some blacks received vagrant—could be sent to jail standing wages. This meant or forced to pay a fine.

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