The peak of black enfranchisement during Reconstruction, 1872
The number of black state and federal legislators in the South peaked in 1872 at about 320 --a level never surpassed even by 1992 (J. Morgan Kousser, Colorblind Injustice, UNC Press 1999, p. 19). This success reflected the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870, which prohibited denial of the franchise on account of race, and federal actions to enforce the Amendment. Southern whites organized the Ku Klux Klan, a terrorist group, to murder politically active blacks and intimidate their supporters. President Grant, using the enforcement powers derived from the 15th Amendment, engaged in a vigorous campaign of federal prosecutions to shut down the KKK in S. Carolina. Note the particularly high Republican turnout there, reflecting high levels of black enfranchisement.