For a relatively brief period immediately following the war, Blacks were able to participate in local and national elections. They were able to move freely with no restrictions, they had opportunities to attend school and with few exceptions were able to enjoy the rights and privileges of full citizenship. As time went on, however, things began to change for Blacks still living in the former slave states. Restrictive legislation, often called "Jim Crow" laws began to be introduced in the former slave states which had the effect of limiting, or in some cases, eliminating the freedoms given to former slaves after the War. For example, voting rights were often tied to things like land ownership, literacy or length of residence in an area. Often, documents were required to "prove" birth dates or other demographic data which former slaves more than likely didn't possess, thus effectively taking away their right to vote. Banks began routinely refusing to make loans to former slaves who couldn't meet their "collateral standards" which were set so high that few could meet them. This meant that former slaves couldn't get financing to start new businesses or purchase a home or get money for seeds and new farm equipment to farm land they already owned. By these means and others, give or take 25 or so years after the war, it might be argued that blacks living in the former slave states were barely better off than they were during slavery. Political power was denied, economic power was denied, social norms that discriminated against blacks were developed, adopted and firmly in place to "keep blacks in their place" which was second class at best. Even looking at a white woman by a black man could lead to a severe beating or worse, a hanging. Barriers were placed in the way of black children being educated, under "separate but equal school" doctrines, in which black schools were underfunded, poorly equipped, taught be teachers with minimal skills themselves and whose graduates were often looked down on by potential employers or advanced educational institutions. It wasn't until a series of Supreme Court decisions, commencing with the "Brown v. Board of Education" decision in May of 1954, that things slowly began to change for blacks in the South. Perhaps the watershed event for blacks was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act put into place the mechanisms for slowly, painfully, but irresistibly dismantling the odious Jim Crow laws, restoring political freedom to blacks. The Act was also instrumental in crippling first, then finally destroying organizations like the Ku Klux Klan who through fear, intimidation and violence enforced the second class treatment of blacks. Today, even as we tout the American Dream, blacks are still feeling the effects of Jim Crow laws. Discrimination, racial bias, and racial injustice still permeate our society. Movements such as the "Black Lives Matter" and "# Me Too" provide ample proof that we still have not escaped the shadow of the Civil War and its aftermath.