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Reconstruction Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

A group portrait of the first African-American legislators in the 41st and 42nd Congress. Library of Congress

How Reconstruction Still Shapes American Racism

By | Commentaries/Opinions

By Henry Lewis Gates, Jr., Times — During an interview with Chris Rock for my PBS series ­African American Lives 2, we traced the ancestry of several well-known African Americans. When I told Rock that his great-great-­grandfather Julius Caesar Tingman had served in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War — enrolling on March 7, 1865, a little more than a month after the Confederates evacuated from Charleston, S.C. —…

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Denmark Vesey House at 56 Bull Street in Charleston, South Carolina.

Slavery and Memory in Charleston, South Carolina

By | Reparations

By Ashleigh Lawrence-Sanders, AAIHS — The familiar refrain after the Emmanuel AME massacre on June 17, 2015, was that Dylann Roof, the murderer, was not from “here.” But as Ethan Kytle and Blain Roberts’ Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy aptly demonstrates, Roof’s understanding of history and memory in Charleston led him to that church; and his understanding was not alien to the sometimes violently, oft-contested memory of slavery in the…

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This 1867 drawing by Alfred Waud, "The First Vote," depicts Black men waiting in line to cast ballots. In Southern states, Black men first gained the right to vote in state constitutions drafted during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era.,

Honoring Reconstruction’s Legacy: The Freedom to Vote

By | Editors' Choice

During the 1870s, more than a half a million Black men voted for the first time in their lives. But this wave of progressive change did not last long. By Rebekah Barber and Billy Corriher, Facing South — One hundred and fifty years ago, a Congress dominated by “Radical Republicans” — mostly former abolitionists who represented Northern states — mandated that Southern states rewrite their constitutions, ratify the 14th amendment, and grant…

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Left to right: Radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens; an African-American soldier in the Union Army; abolitionist Frederick Douglass

The Urgency of a Third Reconstruction

By | Editors' Choice

The ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment marked a turning point in U.S. history. Yet 150 years later, its promises remain unfulfilled. By Robert Greene, Dissent — The ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment on July 9, 1868 was a turning point in United States history. Arriving at the height of Reconstruction, the amendment marked the first time the U.S. Constitution explicitly addressed the question of who qualified as an American citizen.…

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