Tag: Reconstruction

Upcoming JCWE Webinars

The Journal of the Civil War Era is sponsoring three webinars with historians in coming weeks. For each event, JCWE editors Greg Downs and Kate Masur will interview the featured historian(s) and take questions from participants. Recordings will be posted on the JCWE's YouTube channnel. Please see below for more ...
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Civil War Day of Action: Filling Historical Silences

On the Journal of the Civil War Era national Day of Action. I am planning to join my former colleagues and community members in Elizabeth City, NC. Together, we are shedding light on the silenced diverse Civil War experiences, specifically freedpeople, USCT veterans and Grand Army of the Republic comrades ...
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Portrait of Francis Cardozo

Fear of a Black Planet (Part 2)

See more here: Civil War History: A Call to Action. Thirty years ago, Public Enemy released what was arguably its best album, Fear of a Black Planet, which included the iconic track “Fight the Power.” I suspect many of you reading this have at least heard of the song (if ...
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Group of African Americans in front of Church Building

The Politics of Faith: How Contests within Sacred Space Shaped Post-Emancipation Society

In this roundtable, three historians present short excerpts from papers they would have presented at the 2020 meeting of the Society of Civil War Historians, which was cancelled due to Covid-19. The authors featured here explore how the wartime destruction of slavery shaped politics and power within Black churches, between ...
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Portrait of Henry McNeal Turner

“‘Irregular Secession’: The Political Nature of Religious Space in the Reconstruction-era South

In the early summer of 1865, just a few months after Confederates in Raleigh, North Carolina, officially surrendered, Black Baptists found themselves faced with a choice: submit to white leadership and be permitted to use the roomy sanctuary of the city’s main Baptist church, or refuse and be relegated to ...
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Portrait of O. O. Howard

Strategic Alliance: John Hartwell Cook, O. O. Howard, and the Postwar Fight for Equality at First Congregational Church

In February 1867, John Hartwell Cook, a freedman from Virginia and graduate of Oberlin College, arrived in Washington, DC, with his wife, Isabel “Belle” Lewis, to take up a new position with the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, commonly called the Freedmen’s Bureau. Prior to his arrival, he ...
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Portrait of George Freeman Bragg

Beyond Speeches and Leaders: The Role of Black Churches in the Reconstruction of the United States

Black churches were at the center of remaking the United States’ post-Civil War political system into one that incorporated formerly enslaved black men into the body politic and revised the legal code to provide civil rights to these new citizens.  Black Baptist and Episcopal Churches of Virginia provide insight into ...
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On Riots and Resistance: Freedpeople’s Struggle against Police Brutality during Reconstruction

On Riots and Resistance: Freedpeople’s Struggle against Police Brutality during Reconstruction

On May 9, 1867, a festive contest took place in Richmond, Virginia between the local fire department and a visiting fire company from Wilmington, Delaware. A biracial crowd of Richmonders spent the afternoon cheering for their local firehouse and jeering the visiting group. When a white firefighter took offense to ...
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Labor, Democracy, Law, and International Reconstruction

The three essays posted here relate to a session planned for the June, 2020 meeting of the Society of Civil War Historians.  The authors’ abbreviated comments, to be expanded at the rescheduled meeting in 2021, convey tantalizing glimpses of the global scope of America’s post-war Reconstruction. In “Free Labor, Emancipation ...
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A World “Transfixed”: The International Resonance of American Political Crises during Reconstruction and at Present

The conditions of the global pandemic have made us keenly aware, once again, of the interconnectedness of the world we share. Recent protest movements against systemic racism have radiated from the United States to distant places. Reporting the reactions of people around the world to American events, The New York ...
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Reconstruction at Sea: The American Campaign to Reform International Neutrality, 1865-1871

The CSS Alabama sank off the coast of France in June 1864. For two years, the Confederate commerce raider had prowled the world’s oceans, capturing and burning dozens of Union merchant vessels. Yet when the Alabama met its end, it left behind more than a devastated U.S. merchant fleet; it ...
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Free Labor, Emancipation & Reconstruction’s Global Lens

When Charles Hale arrived in Cairo in October 1864, he brought the Civil War with him. The new Consul-General of the United States in Egypt, Hale had made his name as a journalist, and as a politician, having served in the Massachusetts state legislature. A Boston brahmin who came of ...
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Public Monuments and Ulysses S. Grant’s Contested Legacy

Public Monuments and Ulysses S. Grant’s Contested Legacy

On Memorial Day, three million people watched the first part of a three-episode documentary on the life of General and President Ulysses S. Grant. Three weeks later—on the much-publicized Juneteenth holiday, no less—a statue of Grant in San Francisco was vandalized and toppled. What gives? The motivations for this act ...
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Elderly African American man seated in a chair with a cane.

Juneteenth and the Limits of Emancipation

On June 19, 1865, not long after forcing the surrender of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith at Galveston, Texas, General Gordon Granger issued General Orders No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, ‘all slaves are free.’”  ...
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Announcing “Race, Politics, and Justice”

Uprisings prompted by recent police killings of Black people, like all incidents of racist violence and anti-racist protest, must be understood in the context of their present moment. People also rightly turn to history to understand how we arrived here. The Civil War Era was a critical moment in the ...
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The Even Uglier Truth Behind Athens Confederate Monument

The Even Uglier Truth Behind Athens Confederate Monument

On Sunday, May 31, 2020 protestors gathered at a Black Lives Matter protest around the so-called Athens Monument, a monument to the Confederate dead that has been a flashpoint in Athens, Georgia for decades. The protest was organized by city commissioner Mariah Parker, and the protest included the Athens Anti-Discrimination ...
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