Tag: Reconstruction

The Long Struggle of African American Placemaking

Continuing our roundtable on We We Eight Years in Power, today we share a post by Kelly Houston Jones, an assistant professor of history at Austin Peay State University. Her research focuses on slavery, agriculture, and the environment in the trans-Mississippi South. Previous installments of the roundtable are available here ...
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Reconstruction, Power, and the Personal

Reconstruction, Power, and the Personal

This is the first post in our roundtable on We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Today’s post comes from Brandon R. Byrd, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in the intellectual history of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States, looking specifically at African American history and the ...
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We Were Eight Years in Power: Introduction to a Muster Roundtable

We Were Eight Years in Power: Introduction to a Muster Roundtable

This week we are running a roundtable about Ta-Nehisi Coates's new book, We Were Eight Years in Power. Our guest editor for the series, Greg Downs, offers his introduction here. Please follow along this week to hear from historians about how Coates's work relates to our study of the Civil War ...
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Teaching Reconstruction: Some Strategies That Work

Teaching Reconstruction: Some Strategies That Work

This week we share our first Field Dispatch from Dr. Hilary Green, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama. Her research and teaching interests include the intersections of race, class, and gender in African American history, the American Civil War, Reconstruction, as well as Civil War memory, African American education, ...
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Public Iconography, Museum Education, and Reconstruction Era History

Public Iconography, Museum Education, and Reconstruction Era History

Today, correspondent Nick Sacco shares his first Field Dispatch. Nick is a public historian working for the National Park Service as a Park Guide at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis, Missouri. He holds a master's degree in history with a concentration in public history from ...
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By the Standard of Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment, Trump’s Would Be a No-Brainer

By the Standard of Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment, Trump’s Would Be a No-Brainer

A President came to office under a cloud, to help govern a badly divided nation. But he squabbled with his own party, which controlled both houses in Congress, and abused the pardon power in ways that emboldened white supremacists and vigilante terrorists operating outside the law. To avoid accountability for ...
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Violence After Victory: Reconstruction Scholarship at the OAH

The streets, sidewalks, and facades of New Orleans’ famous Canal Street repeatedly bore witness to terrible outbursts of violence throughout the Reconstruction Era, as ex-Confederates tried to overturn the egalitarian reforms of Reconstruction through bloodshed and intimidation. Several of the most important massacres and street battles in the history of ...
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Author Interview: Nancy Bercaw

To coincide with our March 2017 special issue on Reconstruction, we interviewed Nancy Bercaw, curator of the Slavery and Freedom exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. Dr. Bercaw contributed to our roundtable discussion on how Reconstruction is represented in public history contexts. In this interview ...
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Postscript to "Reconstructing Memory"

Postscript to “Reconstructing Memory”

The March 2017 issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era includes the article “Reconstructing Memory: The Attempt to Designate Beaufort, South Carolina the National Park’s First Reconstruction Unit.” It addresses a vigorous effort at the national and local level that began in December of 2000 and aimed to ...
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Editors’ Note: March 2017 Issue

We are very pleased to announce the publication of our March 2017 special issue. Copies will be in your mailboxes soon, but to tide you over until then, here is the editors' note from our guest editors, Kate Masur and Greg Downs. One hundred and fifty years since Reconstruction, we believe ...
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First National Monument to Reconstruction Will Become a Reality

On January 12, 2017, President Obama signed an executive order designating five sites near Beaufort, South Carolina, as a National Parks Service monument. This will be the first NPS site to commemorate Reconstruction, and it comes after many years of work. Throughout his presidency, Obama has supported the creation of ...
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Information from Susan B. Carter et al., eds., Historical Statistics of the United States, Earliest Times to the Present: Millennial Edition, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Did Disenfranchisement Give the South an Electoral Advantage?

There has been much recent discussion of the three-fifths clause of the Constitution, which boosted slaveholding states’ representation in the Electoral College by including for apportionment a population that received no benefits from government. Scholars have debated how this influenced national politics under slavery, but this conversation applies to the ...
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“A History They Can Use”: The Memphis Massacre and Reconstruction’s Public History Terrain

“A History They Can Use”: The Memphis Massacre and Reconstruction’s Public History Terrain

On May 20th and 21st, a group of scholars, students, and public historians gathered at the University of Memphis to discuss a dramatic event often overlooked in the narrative of Reconstruction, the Memphis Massacre of 1866. The symposium, and the Memphis Massacre Project, informed the public about the massacre and ...
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Matthew McConaughey stars in The Free State of Jones

Right and Wrong in “The Free State of Jones”: Making Sense of the Civil War Film Tradition

No one quite knows what to make of “The Free State of Jones,” the latest big-budget feature film about the history of the Civil War. Some have praised it as the “final word on racism’s vicious legacy” while others have lambasted it for engaging in “the passive violence of distortion.” ...
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At a meeting of the Union League, Moses (Mahershala Ali) and Newt (Matthew McConaughey) tell the Freedman that all citizens shall have the right to vote.

Aiming for Accuracy: Free State of Jones, Contingency, and the Meaning of Freedom

Early in Free State of Jones a Confederate soldier proclaims he is not fighting for slavery but rather “for honor.” His comrades, including poor Mississippi farmer Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey), needle him. Considering the "Twenty Negro Law,” Conscription Act, and tax-in-kind law, they point out that their blood only helps ...
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Muhammad Ali’s Civil War Inheritance: A Historical Note

The death of Muhammad Ali reminded people here in America and across the world of the many ways in which his life had meaning beyond his triumphs in the boxing ring. As numerous people have recalled in recent days, Ali was more than a fierce boxer; he lived a fierce ...
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