A Voice of Her Own: SC Women in Politics – Reconstruction
Change had swept through the South making it impossible for women to return to the lives they knew before the war. White women no longer could count on free black labor and black women were struggling to navigate a new freedom in a place where they were not welcome. Their hopes of owning land and having independence were eventually dashed- many forced to become sharecroppers, which continued to hold them at a disadvantage to whites. Many black families left the state, traveling North in hopes of a better life.
Even during and after reconstruction, South Carolina’s white privileged women continued to hold the conservative values of their husbands- despite economic hardship and a new reality. They were not looking for power or politics, but their actions in new post war South Carolina laid the ground work for empowerment.