Nadir of American race relations
The ""nadir of American race relations"" was the period in the history of the Southern United States from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 through the early 20th century, when racism in the country was worse than in any other period after the American Civil War. During this period, African Americans lost many civil rights gains made during Reconstruction. Anti-black violence, lynchings, segregation, legal racial discrimination, and expressions of white supremacy increased.Historian Rayford Logan first used the term ""nadir"" to describe this period in his 1954 book The Negro in American Life and Thought: The Nadir, 1877–1901. The term continues to be used, most notably in the books of James Loewen, but also by other scholars. Loewen argued that the post-Reconstruction era was actually one of widespread hope for racial equity, when idealistic Northerners championed civil rights. The true nadir, accordingly, began only when northern Republicans ceased supporting Southern blacks' rights around 1890, and extended through 1940. This period followed the financial Panic of 1873 and a continuing decline in cotton prices and coincided with the Progressive Era, and the sundown town phenomenon across the country.