The 1880s: Repression
By 1880, more than 80 percent of the 52 African Americans featured in this exhibit had served their terms in two constitutional conventions and five legislative sessions. The remaining men would have nine sessions and nearly 20 years to watch as laws were enacted in Texas, over their objections, that legally disfranchised and segregated African Americans while the federal government and national public opinion acquiesced. Since intimidation of African Americans by whites had been very effective in the 1873 state elections, many whites continued to use terrorist tactics to control access to the polls. Mobs burned African-American homes and businesses and destroyed crops as warnings to stay home on election day.