Redemption: The End of Reconstruction
Provisional Governor Hamilton granted amnesty to ex-Confederates if they promised to support the Union in the future, appointing some to office.
Many free blacks were able to become businessmen and leaders. Through the young Republican Party blacks rapidly gained political power. Indeed blacks comprised 90% of the Texas Republican Party during the 1880s. Norris Wright Cuney, an African American from Galveston, rose to the chairmanship of the Texas Republican Party and even the national committeeman.
On March 30, 1870, the United States Congress readmitted Texas into the Union, although Texas did not meet all the formal requirements for readmission. Like other Southern states, by the late 1870s white Democrats regained control, often with a mix of intimidation and terrorism by paramilitary groups operating for the Democratic Party. They passed a new constitution in 1876 that segregated schools and established a poll tax to support them, but it was not originally required for voting. In 1901 the Democratic-dominated legislature imposed a poll tax as a requirement for voting, and succeeded in disfranchising most blacks. The number of voters decreased from 100,000 in the 1890s to 5,000 by 1906.