Rutherford B. Hayes was declared winner of a presidential election fraught with accusations and arguments. The final outcome of the election hinged on the disputed results in four states—Florida, Louisiana, Oregon, and South Carolina—which prevented either candidate from securing a majority of electoral votes. At a meeting in February 1877, Democratic leaders accepted Hayes’s election in exchange for Republican promises to withdraw federal troops from the South, provide federal funding for internal improvements in the South, and name a...
Named for its first meeting place at Niagara Falls, New York, the Niagara Movement formed as an organized response to Booker T. Washington’s policies of accommodation and conciliation. Led by W. E. B. Du Bois, the Niagara Movement aimed to counteract Washington’s influence over the black community and in its manifesto declared its intention to “claim for ourselves every single right that belongs to a freeborn American, political, civil and social.”
In Moore v. Dempsey, the Supreme Court ruled that twelve African Americans in Arkansas had been unfairly tried and convicted of murder based on a “wave of public passion.” The case was returned to the Arkansas court, which eventually freed the defendants.
The Second Mississippi Plan was devised by the Mississippi legislature to avoid honoring the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments without attracting federal intervention. The plan included a residency length requirement, poll tax, literacy test, and clean criminal record requirement. The Second Mississippi Plan successfully disfranchised most African Americans in that state.
President Woodrow Wilson attended a White House screening of D. W. Griffith’s new film, The Birth of a Nation. The film, based on the novel The Clansman by Thomas Dixon, celebrated the Ku Klux Klan and presented racist portrayals of African Americans. Wilson reportedly called the film “terribly true.” Fervor created by the film contributed to race riots and violence against African Americans throughout the nation, as well as the revival of the Ku Klux Klan.