The answer to that question lies in the emancipation proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln that took effect January 1, 1863 that gave Black folks their freedom during the civil war. The civil war was from 1861 to 1865. They were no longer held in slavery but free. But, it didn’t mean much in the South because then they became a different kind of slave called a “sharecropper.”
Sharecropping is a tenant farmer working someone’s land for a percentage of the revenue generated minus expenses. The sharecropper would receive credit for seed, tools, a place to live and food. On the other hand, sharecropping for Blacks subjected them to working at the same plantation with no pay because of the debt they would incurred and the unfair labor contracts they were forced to sign. Economically, the ex-slaves were no better off than before the emancipation proclamation of 1863. In December of 1865 slavery was made illegal every where by the 13th amendment.
Next the Reconstruction Era.