Congress passes a new reconstruction plan called the Wade-Davis Bill. Unlike Lincoln’s plan, this stipulates that only those who swear never to have fought against the Union can participate in the reconstruction of state governments. In addition to requiring bans on slavery, the bill demands the disenfranchisement of Confederate leaders and the repudiation of Confederate debts. Lincoln refuses to sign the bill.
National Equal Rights League Convenes
The National Equal Rights League convenes in Syracuse, New York. Delegates are all prominent northern blacks, led by John Mercer Langston who later organized Howard University’s Law Department, and included Frederick Douglass and Octavius V. Catto. Working through state chapters, the League promotes an aggressive advocacy agenda to obtain civil rights for blacks. Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan are charged to take the lead. Philadelphia blacks, led by Catto, boycott to desegregate public transportation.