Make good the promises Reclaiming Reconstruction and its legacies

Book - 2021

"An incisive and illuminating analysis of the enduring legacy of the post-Civil War period known as Reconstruction--a comprehensive story of Black Americans' struggle for human rights and dignity and the failure of the nation to fulfill its promises of freedom, citizenship, and justice"--

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 973.8/Make Checked In
New York, NY : Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers [2021]
First edition
Item Description
"In association with the National Museum of African American History and Culture."
Companion volume to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture exhibit, opening September 2021.
Physical Description
224 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 210-213) and index.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Paroxysms of Southern white rage short-circuited Reconstruction, according to this concise yet powerful companion volume to an upcoming exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Museum directors Conwill and Gardullo gather an impressive line-up of historians and curators, including Eric Foner and Kimberlé Crenshaw, to document the brief period of post--Civil War uplift that delivered citizenship, voting rights, and, in some cases, land to newly liberated African Americans. The contributors also detail how so-called Redeemers worked feverishly to claw back gains that Congress granted, resulting in Blacks' hopes for true equality being dashed by "terror, racist propaganda, and political malfeasance." UCLA law professor and critical race theorist Crenshaw views America's long history of "racial retrenchment" following "stirrings of freedom's possibilities" through the lens of the 2015 attack on Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., by a white supremacist, and documents the role Black women have played in the "struggle for liberation." Other essays link George Floyd's murder by police officers in 2020 to the rise of "white terror gangs" in the 1860s and '70s, and document recent campaigns to bring down Confederate monuments. Firmly planted in both the past and the present, this is an excellent introduction to an oft-misunderstood chapter in American history. Illus. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

A broadly ranging study of the Reconstruction era and its misinterpretations. In a very real sense, note the editors and other contributors in this companion book to the exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History & Culture, the Civil War has never ended. Indeed, as a caption to a chilling photograph from Jan. 6, 2021, reads, "The storming of the US Capitol…recalled the political violence of the Reconstruction era." Reconstruction was a failed enterprise, but not because it was in any way wrong to elevate African Americans to full citizenship. Many of the activists of the era understood that emancipation was only one step on the journey to that goal, which requires economic as well as political advancement. There are two Reconstructions: one White and one Black. The former holds that Reconstruction failed through some inherent corruption in the system, the latter in the failure of the federal government to undertake its platform in full good faith--with President Andrew Johnson, for instance, pulling back on many of its reforms and allowing the Southern states to return to the fold of the Union while retaining many of their exclusionary pre--Civil War laws. As a result, writes historian Hasan Kwame Jeffries, "the Confederate tradition of promoting nostalgia over history has been woven into the fabric of American culture," with the recent murders of Black citizens by police being a point on a continuum that extends far into the past. The contributors argue that the country as a whole seems willing to engage in a "national reckoning concerning the lies about Reconstruction" even as Republican legislators around the country rush to suppress any curriculum that does more than mention slavery in passing. The book, evenhanded and searching, is enhanced by meaningful photographs from past and present as well as a foreword by Eric Foner. Students of American history and civil rights activists alike will find much of value in this survey. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.