The freedpeople’s struggle was against what they saw as actual or effective reenslavement. And in fact, the forces ruling their states after Reconstruction did set about constructing a set of laws that would make and keep nearly all of them a powerless, immobilized, landless agricultural force. The impulse to flee came from the conditions that freedpeople lived in and that they anticipated for the future. But Black men living in cities in the North and South, who did not suffer the pressures that were so disturbing in the rural areas, did not reach the same conclusions about the need to leave the South immediately. Many of the more privileged Blacks, men of more wealth, education, and autonomy, opposed the Exodus when it occurred two years after the compromise that we now take as the formal end of Reconstruction.
- P. VII, Exodusters – Nell Irvin Painter, ISBN 0-393-00951-3
Nell Irvin Painter