Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880
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4 authors picked Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
Black Reconstruction places the struggle for African American equality at the center of American democracy. Written a century ago, it remains among the best books - not just on the period after the Civil War when the end of US slavery made the ideals of US democracy potentially realizable - but on the founding of the nation. Generations of scholars have followed the pioneering path that W.E.B. Du Bois forged documenting the ways in which the “failure” of Reconstruction was in fact the failure of the state to intervene when groups of white Americans violently excluded Black Americans from the…
This book is a masterpiece. Du Bois’s research, voice, and powerful arguments are essential reading for anyone interested in understanding slavery, race, class, education, and American society. His use of sources makes evident, and doesn’t allow anyone to deny, the full-scale support of White supremacy in the United States, despite the fall of slavery. Du Bois’s analysis continues to be an essential read today in that he truly understands the way that Whites have benefited and held tightly to their privilege. Given the current racial dynamics in the nation in 2021, reading Black Reconstruction will help provide a rich and…
This is the classic account of the African American struggle in the tumultuous days of the Civil War and its aftermath. Du Bois wrote this literary masterpiece in 1935, setting the pace for the reevaluation of the Reconstruction Era by later generations of scholars. It is a story of hope and freedom, terror and despair, at the heart of which lay the Black struggle for equality in the post-Civil War settlement.
W. E. B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in America challenged the prevailing interpretation about the post-Civil War years. Put forward in cinematic form by The Birth of a Nation (1915), that interpretation cast Reconstruction as a dark time when carpetbaggers, scalawags, and their recently freed African American allies ran roughshod over a prostrate white South struggling to recover from the Civil War. Du Bois treated enslaved people during the war and freedpeople in its aftermath as important actors, rather than as passive pawns, in the political, military, and economic struggles of the era. In doing so, he anticipated scholarship from…
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