Reconstruction Timeline
Timeline Description: Reconstruction is the period of time in the United States in which the country tried to reunite following the horrors of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated days after the war ended, so President Andrew Johnson led the country through Reconstruction. Johnson was not a supporter of equal rights for ex-slaves and even though Reconstruction had some successes, the U.S. dealt with discrimination for the next 100 years.

Date Event
December 8, 1863 Abraham Lincoln announces the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction.

Even though the Civil War is not over, President Abraham Lincoln begins to work toward putting the country back together again. The Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction allows southern states back into the Union and returns property if 10 percent of its citizens swear allegiance to the Union.
March 1865 The Freedman's Bureau begins operations.

Looking for a way to help ex-slaves enter society as free people, the federal government creates the Freedman's Bureau. It is only supposed to be open for one year, but is open until 1868.
April 9, 1865 Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant.

The leader of the Confederate Army, Robert E. Lee, surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. The bloody Civil War officially comes to and end.
April 14, 1865 Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth.

While watching a play at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., Lincoln is shot by an angry Southerner named John Wilkes Booth. The presidents dies the next morning.
December 6, 1865 The 13th Amendment is ratified.

The states ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment officially ends slavery in the United States.
December 1865 Free African Americans pour into cities in the South.

African Americans begin to migrate to the southern states now that slavery is over. Over the next 5 years, the South's 10 largest cities will double in population.
May 1, 1866 Race riots break out in Memphis, Tennessee.

White people begin attacking African Americans on the streets of Memphis, Tennessee. Over 40 African Americans are killed and hundreds of homes and churches are burned.
July 24, 1866 The first southern state is readmitted to the Union.

Tennessee becomes the first state from the South to be allowed back into the United States. It was also the last state to leave the Union when the war began.
July 9, 1868 The 14th Amendment is ratified.

The states ratify the 14th Amendment after a two-year fight. The amendment allows African Americans, including ex-slaves, to be considered citizens of the U.S.
September 1868 African American politicians are kicked out of the Georgia legislature

African Americans and whites started working together in politics right after the Civil War ended. However, many whites were opposed to African Americans being in politics and the state of Georgia kicked them out of the legislature until President Ulysses S. Grant forces Georgia to accept them.
February 3, 1870 The 15th Amendment is ratified.

The 15th Amendment gives African Americans and Native Americans the right to vote. However, white people will continue to find ways to prevent many African Americans from voting for the next 100 years.
July 15, 1870 The last southern state is allowed back in to the United States.

Georgia becomes the last state from the South to be let back into the U.S. It had been allowed back in in 1868, but was kicked out for refusing the accept the 15th Amendment.
April 13, 1873 Over 100 African Americans are killed in the Colfax Massacre.

A group of white people called the White League get into a fight with the Louisiana state militia. The militia is made of almost all African Americans and over 100 of them are killed, including over 50 who were killed after they surrendered.
March 1, 1875 Congress passes the Civil Rights Bill of 1875.

Congress passes the last bill of Reconstruction, which makes segregation in public places illegal. However, the Supreme Court overturns the Civil Rights Bill in 1883.
March 4, 1877 Reconstruction ends with the Rutherford B. Hayes presidency.

Both Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden claim they won the presidential election. The Republicans make a deal to stop Reconstruction in exchange for their candidate becoming president of the United States.