Timeline of Reconstruction in North Carolina


Union troops win the Battle of New Bern in March. Thousands African Americans seek freedom behind Union lines in New Bern.

Vincent Colyer sets up night schools for freed people.


Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.

Recruitment of African American soldiers begins.


Abraham Galloway and four others visit Abraham Lincoln.


The Thirteenth Amendment, which abolishes slavery in the United States, is approved in January and ratified in December. Congress establishes the Freedmen's Bureau in March.

The Civil War effectively ends with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9.

President Lincoln is assassinated on April 15. Vice President Andrew Johnson becomes president.

President Johnson presents plans for Reconstruction.

Freedmen’s Convention takes place in Raleigh on September 29.

North Carolina holds a constitutional convention on October 2.

Congress refuses to readmit North Carolina in December.

States enact Black Codes.


The Ku Klux Klan is created in Tennessee.

Congress approves the Fourteenth Amendment.

North Carolina refuses to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment.

Radical Republicans gain control in Congress.

Congress expands the Freedmen's Bureau’s responsibilities and powers.


The Reconstruction Acts are passed over Johnson's veto, initiating Congressional Reconstruction.

The Union League and Abraham Lincoln League become active recruiting black voters in Craven County.


The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified, entitling all persons born or naturalized in the United States to citizenship and equal protection under the laws of the United States.

North Carolina is readmitted to the Union.

Andrew Johnson is impeached by Congress, but is acquitted by one vote.


Former Union General Ulysses S. Grant becomes president.

The Freedman’s Bureau leaves North Carolina.


Hiram Revels of Mississippi (born in Fayetteville, North Carolina) is the first African American elected to the United States Senate.

The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified, granting the right to vote to all male citizens regardless of color or previous condition of servitude.

Three African American representatives from Craven County are elected to the General Assembly.

Conservative government is reestablished in North Carolina, "redeeming" the state.


Governor William Holden publishes a list of crimes committed by the Ku Klux Klan.

Act to Enforce Fourteenth Amendment (Ku Klux Klan Act) is passed in Congress.


Democrat Zebulon Vance is elected Governor of North Carolina.


The last federal troops leave South Carolina, effectively ending the Federal government's presence in the South.

Source Citation: 

Exhibit Text, Claiming Citizenship: Political Activism, Days of Jubilee, Tryon Palace, New Bern, N.C.


Credit text

From "Claiming Citizenship: Political Activism," part of the Days of Jubilee exhibit.