After the end of slavery in the U.S., blacks had to begin to fight for equal rights. They also had to deal with problems such as illiteracy, poverty, and lack of land ownership, all of which had adverse effects on their lives. Many white Americans did not want blacks to be equal in society, developing measures, which were often violent, that aimed to keep them in an inferior position. Whites separated themselves from blacks in almost every way possible. Although they struggled to remain the superior race, whites suffered social changes prompted by the loss of free labor.
The end of slavery in the United States began a long battle for the equal rights of blacks that many argue has continued into the 21st century. Although whites could no longer own colored human beings, they were very resistant to the idea of treating them equally, especially in the South. Racist hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan went to extreme measures to make black people feel unwelcome as members of society. Freed slaves were subject to lynchings and beatings, and whites often refused to recognize blacks' rights.
White Americans concocted ways to disenfranchise blacks after the end of slavery. As former slaves were mostly illiterate and unskilled, their employment options were limited. Many of them, especially those in the South, were concentrated in agriculture. Working under unjust terms meant that they generally remained poor, uneducated, and landless. This provided white Americans with an ideal opportunity to develop and exploit schemes such as the poll tax and literacy tests that prevented a lot of blacks from voting.
Segregation is one of the infamous social effects that arose after the end of slavery. In an effort to degrade blacks further and to continue to promote ideas of the superiority of the white race, the two groups were separated in almost every aspect of life. There were laws that required whites and blacks to use different water fountains and to enter buildings through separate entrances. This type of social division even extended to children, requiring that textbooks for white and black children be stored separately.
Although blacks struggled the most, white Americans also faced hardship after the end of slavery. The loss of free sources of labor changed the lives of many white plantation owners. They could not afford to pay laborers to do all of the work that they once forced their slaves to do. This meant that men and women who once considered themselves elite were now required to do much more work for themselves. The effects of this change were shifts in social status and attitudes toward marital relationships and the role of the sexes.