Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880

By W.E.B. Du Bois,

Book cover of Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880

Book description

W. E. B. Du Bois was a public intellectual, sociologist, and activist on behalf of the African American community. He profoundly shaped black political culture in the United States through his founding role in the NAACP, as well as internationally through the Pan-African movement. Du Bois's sociological and historical research…

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Why read it?

6 authors picked Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I learned more from this book than any other I read this year. Essentially, everything you ever learned about the history of the period after the American Civil War is wrong!

It is a large book that goes into great detail, quoting from speeches made in the House and Senate as well as the records of state legislatures. DuBois is a towering figure in the history of the American struggle for civil rights, and this book shows you why. It is also beautifully written, with his most powerful prose ringing in your ears like something from the King James Bible!

W.E.B Du Bois’s magnificent contribution to Post-Reconstrucion history put a stop to the notion that blacks were lightweights when it came to academia. Du Bois is a careful historian but doesn’t hesitate to speak from a black agenda. I’m well aware that this book supports my own ideas that blacks were a force in settling the West, but still, the truth will come out. Black people exerted extraordinary political influence. Du Bois, was a serious scholar, with impeccable credentials, and the founder of the NAACP. This man can write! I’m envious of his matchless ability to present history. 

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.

From Charles' list on the struggle for equality in the USA.

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…

From Gary's list on the Civil War era.

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