Tag: Reconstruction

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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Upcoming JCWE Webinars

The Journal of the Civil War Era is sponsoring four webinars with historians in coming weeks. For each event, JCWE editors Greg Downs and Kate Masur will interview the featured historian and take questions from participants. Recordings will be posted on the JCWE web page. Please see below for more ...
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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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The Limits of Black Forgiveness

Since May 25th, when we lost George Floyd, a whole lot of white folk have been apologizing and asking for forgiveness for the systemic racial injustice that has existed for at least four hundred years. I know a few white allies well.  I know they sincerely grieve with us and ...
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Author Interview: Alaina E. Roberts

Author Interview: Alaina E. Roberts

Today we share an interview with Alaina E. Roberts, who published an article in the June 2020 issue, titled “A Different Forty Acres: Land, Kin, and Migration in the Late Nineteenth-Century West.” Alaina is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. Her forthcoming book, I’ve Been Here ...
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Teaching the Reconstruction Era Through Political Cartoons

Teaching the Reconstruction Era Through Political Cartoons

During this past fall semester I received an email from a curriculum coordinator at a local school district. She stated that a high school history teacher was running short on time, but wanted to spend one day with his students discussing the Reconstruction era before the end of the semester ...
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‘Disgrace, Ridicule, Hatred, Contempt and Reproach’: The Impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump

‘Disgrace, Ridicule, Hatred, Contempt and Reproach’: The Impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump

“There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have,” complained President Donald Trump as the House of Representatives began its impeachment inquiry in September 2019.[1] Only three other Presidents have faced impeachment inquiries, and they certainly felt the weight ...
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2019 Draper Conference Review: “The Greater Reconstruction: American Democracy after the Civil War,” Part II

2019 Draper Conference Review: “The Greater Reconstruction: American Democracy after the Civil War,” Part II

Day two of the 2019 Draper Conference brought four more panels, including a plenary session that concluded the proceedings. For my review of day one of the conference, see my previous post on Muster. A panel on the topic of “Racial Terror and Violence” started off the morning block and ...
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2019 Draper Conference Review: "The Greater Reconstruction: American Democracy after the Civil War," Part I

2019 Draper Conference Review: “The Greater Reconstruction: American Democracy after the Civil War,” Part I

On April 19 and 20, the University of Connecticut at Storrs hosted the 2019 Draper Conference on the topic of “The Greater Reconstruction: American Democracy after the Civil War.” The two-day event featured eight panels, consisting of thirty-one paper presentations and a keynote address.[1] All told, the conference revealed an ...
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