Reflect: Key People, Connections and Discussion Questions

This page is about reflection.

You’ll find a list of some of the key people and organizations relevant to this section. You’ll also find a section called intersectionality to encourage thinking about how different issues are connected, and discussion questions to encourage deeper thinking. Take some time to answer the questions, look these people up and learn more about their stories.

The content on this site is not complete: there are countless numbers of people and so many stories — from small acts of defiance to major leadership positions — that didn’t get recorded or that don’t often make it into textbooks.

This website is meant to be grown and improved upon. We’ve included some of the heroes, but if you know people we are missing, let us know so we can include their stories too.

Some Key People & Groups

  • Harriet Purvis
  • Sarah Remond
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
  • Caroline Remond Putnam
  • Mary Ann Shadd Cary
  • Fanny Jackson Coppin
  • Frances Rollin Whipper
  • Harriet (Hattie) Purvis, Jr.
  • Harriet Forten Purvis
  • Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin
  • William Marshall
  • Charlotte (Lottie) Rollin
  • Charlotte E. Ray
  • Charlotte Forten
  • Margaretta Forten
  • Naomi Talbert Anderson
  • Sarah Forten
  • Andrew Tate
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • William Tecumseh Sherman
  • Henry Ward Beecher
  • William Dickinson
  • National Equal Rights League
  • American Equal Rights Association
  • The Golden Key Club


At this time in history, if you were Black, you still had limited rights even if you had escaped the South and/or had fought in the Civil War.

Think about your own identities--how might your life be different if you escaped slavery and/or fought in a war but still had limited rights? While Black men gained the right to vote at this time, think about what it was like to be a woman, especially a Black woman, who still could not vote.

While clearly the laws were progressing at this time, there was still inequality when it came to voting based on other identity markers--this is intersectionality--and some of these ideas still play out, even if in different ways, today.

Discussion Questions: 
During Reconstruction, voting rights for Black men were enforced in the South but not in the North. What do you think this says about the motivation for those laws? About Northern white society in general?
Imagine the conversations taking place within the Federal Government leading up to the Hayes-Tilden Compromise. What types of reasons do you suppose were given in support of withdrawing from the South? What about the arguments in opposition?
What are some ways the transition out of Reconstruction could have been smoother? How might the violent backlash have been prevented?