Black History and Blacks in U.S. History
Leaders in the Legislative Branch

Leaders in the Legislative Branch
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.9

     challenging words:    best-known, redrawn, literacy, beginning, dishonest, domestic, setback, addition, campaign, regain, public, increase, effort, equal, lasted, former
     content words:    African Americans, United States, Hiram Revels, United States Senate, Joseph Rainey, African American, Blanche K., African American Congressmen, Civil War, Jim Crow

Print Leaders in the Legislative Branch
     Print Leaders in the Legislative Branch  (font options, pick words for additional puzzles, and more)

Quickly Print - PDF format
     Quickly Print: PDF (2 columns per page)

     Quickly Print: PDF (full page)

Quickly Print - HTML format
     Quickly Print: HTML

Proofreading Activity
     Print a proofreading activity

Feedback on Leaders in the Legislative Branch
     Leave your feedback on Leaders in the Legislative Branch  (use this link if you found an error in the story)

Leaders in the Legislative Branch
By Sharon Fabian

1     When slavery ended, African Americans gained the chance to take part in American democracy. They became lawmakers at the local, state, and federal levels. Beginning in the 1870s, African Americans became members of both houses of Congress in the United States government. Hiram Revels, a free black man born in a slave state, was elected to the United States Senate in 1870. Joseph Rainey, born a slave, was the first African American elected to the House of Representatives, in 1870. Blanche K. Bruce was elected to the Senate in 1875. After a few years, no more blacks were elected to Congress for nearly one hundred years. What changed? What happened to stop the election of black lawmakers so soon after it had begun?
2     The 1870s, when these first African American Congressmen were elected, was the time known as Reconstruction. It was a period of rebuilding after the Civil War. There were federal troops still stationed in southern states. The U.S. government was making an effort to include former slaves in our democracy.
3     Reconstruction lasted for only a few years. Then the government withdrew its troops from the South. Former white leaders of the southern states took steps to regain the power they had lost. They passed laws restricting the rights and activities of African Americans. These laws became known as Jim Crow laws. One of the ways they restricted the freedoms of African Americans was by making it more difficult to vote.
4     Poll taxes were charged. Poll taxes stopped some people who had little money from voting. Literacy tests were instituted. They stopped people who had never learned to read from voting. Voting districts were redrawn, separating the black votes and making them less effective. Illegal activities kept blacks from voting, too. Violence and threats of violence kept black voters away from the polls. Dishonest elections caused some votes to go uncounted.
5     With these measures in place, it was very difficult for African Americans to be elected to public office. For nearly 100 years, from the end of Reconstruction until the 1960s, few blacks were elected. This was true especially to the highest offices.

Paragraphs 6 to 11:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable

Weekly Reading Books

          Create Weekly Reading Books

Prepare for an entire week at once!

Black History and Blacks in U.S. History
             Black History and Blacks in U.S. History

United States
             United States

    American Government  
    Black History and Blacks in U.S. History  
    Children in History  
    Government Careers  
    Hispanic Heritage  
    How Can I Help?  
    National Parks and Monuments  
    Native Americans  
    Presidents of the United States  
    Women's History  

United States History
    A Nation Divided
    A New Nation
    After the Civil War
    American Revolution  
    Cold War
    Colonial America (1492-1776)  
    Lewis and Clark
    Pearl Harbor  
    Spanish American War (1898)  
    The 1890's  
    The 1900's  
    The 1910's  
    The 1920's  
    The 1930's  
    The 1940's  
    The 1950's  
    The 1960's  
    The 1970's  
    The 1980's  
    The 1990's  
    The 2000's  
    The Civil War
    The Great Depression
    The United States Grows
    The War of 1812  
    Wild, Wild West  
    World War I
    World War II  

50 States

             Fifty States Theme Unit

Document Based Activities
      Document Based Activities

More Activities, Lesson Plans, and Worksheets

Back to School
Graphic Organizers
Alphabet Worksheets
Sight Words
Math Worksheets
50 States

Monthly Themes

Place Value
Time and Calendar
Earth Day
Solar System
Following Directions
Cursive Writing
Patterns and Sequencing
All About Me

First Grade
Second Grade
Third Grade
Fourth Grade
Fifth Grade
Sixth Grade

Main Idea
Cause and Effect
Order of Operations
Community Helpers
Addition and Subtraction
Bulletin Board Ideas
Word Searches
Crossword Puzzles
Printable Puzzles

Reading Comprehension
Reading Skills
English Language Arts

Copyright © 2015 edHelper