Reconstruction Era Quotes

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We seem to be in a continuing feedback loop of repeating a past that our country has yet to address. Our history is one of spectacular achievement (as in black senators of the Reconstruction era or the advances that culminated in the election of Barack Obama) followed by a violent backlash that threatens to erase the gains and then a long, slow climb to the next mountain, where the cycle begins again. The
Jesmyn Ward (The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race)
In 1867, at the dawn of the Reconstruction Era, no black man held political office in the South, yet three years later, at least 15 percent of all Southern elected officials were black. This is particularly extraordinary in light of the fact that fifteen years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965—the high water mark of the Civil Rights Movement—fewer than 8 percent of all Southern elected officials were black.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
While floor statements from today's [congressional] representatives are typically delivered to empty galleries and published into unread oblivion, legislative debates in the Reconstruction era were widely disseminated and closely observed.
Andrew Buttaro (The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 and the End of Reconstruction)
We seem to be in a continuing feedback loop of repeating a past that our country has yet to address. Our history is one of spectacular achievement (as in black senators of the Reconstruction era or the advances that culminated in the election of Barack Obama) followed by a violent backlash that threatens to erase the gains and then a long, slow climb to the next mountain, where the cycle begins again.
Jesmyn Ward (The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race)
I believe that there are four institutions in American history that have shaped our approach to race and justice but remain poorly understood. The first, of course, is slavery. This was followed by the reign of terror that shaped the lives of people of color following the collapse of Reconstruction until World War II. ....The third institution, "Jim Crow," is the legalized racial segregation and suppression of basic rights that defined the American apartheid era. ....The fourth institution is mass incarceration.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)
The pharaonic era of the country-house technocrats. The dream of an electronic control of things runs up against the traditional stupidity of the masses. Collective demand has never been so elicited, forced or violated as it has in the field of computing. The clash between a philosophical and metaphysical exigency and a present which is no longer in the least philosophical and metaphysical. The clash between a system of representation and a system of simulation. The clash between a thinking of difference and a thinking of indifference. What is the power of indifference? What would an analytics of indifference be like? Torn between a radical indifference and a radical seduction. Postmodemity is the simultaneity of the destruction of earlier values and their reconstruction. It is renovation within ruination. In terms of periods, it is the end of final evaluations and the movement of transcendence, which are replaced by 'teleonomic' evaluation, in terms of retroaction. Everything is always retroactive, including - and, indeed, particularly including - information. The rest is left to the acceleration of values by technology (sex, body, freedom, knowledge).
Jean Baudrillard (Cool Memories)
Camillo’s reputation was resurrected in the twentieth century thanks to the efforts of the historian Frances Yates, who helped reconstruct the theater’s blueprints in her book The Art of Memory, and the Italian literature professor Lina Bolzoni, who has helped explain how Camillo’s theater was more than just the work of a nut job, but actually the apotheosis of an entire era’s ideas about memory.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
Given this background, it can hardly be surprising that hard drinking and the ruthless fighting called "rough and tumble," (which included biting off ears or noses and gouging out eyes) became hallmarks of the Southern backcountry way of life. Nor did it take much to get fighting started among these people, for "even in their poverty they carried themselves with a fierce and stubborn pride that warned others to treat them with respect."372 Vigilante movements were another facet of their violent pattern, and the name "lynch law" has been traced to one of their number named William Lynch, whose followers often flogged and sometimes killed their victims.373 These patterns continued long after Lynch's death in 1820, with most victims being white until the Reconstruction era in the South after the Civil War, when blacks became the main targets.
Thomas Sowell (Conquests And Cultures: An International History)
Virtually all of the former Confederate states threw out their Reconstruction-era constitutions—those that black people helped draft and which they voted to ratify—and wrote new ones that included disenfranchisement provisions, antimiscegenation provisions, and separate-but-equal Jim Crow provisions. Though “race neutral” in language, these new constitutions solidified Southern states as governed by legal segregation and discrimination.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow)
Assessing Miller's rebuttal and the 1895 convention, W.E.B. Du Bois made a sobering observation. Miller had, on some fundamental level, misunderstood the aims of the white men who sought to destroy Reconstruction. From Du Bois's perspective, the 1895 constitutional convention was not an exercise in moral reform, or an effort to purge the state of corruption. These were simply bywords embraced to cover for the restoration of a despotic white supremacy. The problem was not that South Carolina's Reconstruction-era government had been consumed by unprecedented graft. Indeed, it was the exact opposite. The very success Miller highlighted, the actual record of 'Negro government' in South Carolina, undermined white supremacy. To redeem white supremacy, that record was twisted, mocked, and caricatured into something that better resembled the prejudices of white South Carolina. 'If there was one thing that South Carolina feared more than bad Negro government,' wrote Du Bois, 'it was good Negro government.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy)
Pioneered in Iraq, for-profit relief and reconstruction has already become the new global paradigm, regardless of whether the original destruction occurred from a preemptive war, such as Israel’s 2006 attack on Lebanon, or a hurricane. With resource scarcity and climate change providing a steadily increasing flow of new disasters, responding to emergencies is simply too hot an emerging market to be left to the nonprofits—why should UNICEF rebuild schools when it can be done by Bechtel, one of the largest engineering firms in the U.S.? Why put displaced people from Mississippi in subsidized empty apartments when they can be housed on Carnival cruise ships? Why deploy UN peacekeepers to Darfur when private security companies like Blackwater are looking for new clients? And that is the post-September 11 difference: before, wars and disasters provided opportunities for a narrow sector of the economy—the makers of fighter jets, for instance, or the construction companies that rebuilt bombed-out bridges. The primary economic role of wars, however, was as a means to open new markets that had been sealed off and to generate postwar peacetime booms. Now wars and disaster responses are so fully privatized that they are themselves the new market; there is no need to wait until after the war for the boom—the medium is the message. One distinct advantage of this postmodern approach is that in market terms, it cannot fail. As a market analyst remarked of a particularly good quarter for the earnings of the energy services company Halliburton, “Iraq was better than expected.”31 That was in October 2006, then the most violent month of the war on record, with 3,709 Iraqi civilian casualties.32 Still, few shareholders could fail to be impressed by a war that had generated $20 billion in revenues for this one company.33 Amid the weapons trade, the private soldiers, for-profit reconstruction and the homeland security industry, what has emerged as a result of the Bush administration’s particular brand of post-September 11 shock therapy is a fully articulated new economy. It was built in the Bush era, but it now exists quite apart from any one administration and will remain entrenched until the corporate supremacist ideology that underpins it is identified, isolated and challenged.
Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism)
The White Liners didn’t bother with any such pretense of civility or restraint. On October 7, John Milton Brown, the sheriff of Coahoma County, reported a “perfect state of terror” had seized his jurisdiction. “I have been driven from my county by an armed force. I am utterly powerless to enforce law or to restore order.”93 Disheartened by Grant’s refusal to rush troops to Mississippi, Ames sat brooding and besieged in the governor’s mansion in Jackson. He concluded that Reconstruction was a dead letter, white supremacists in his state having engineered a coup d’état. “Yes, a revolution has taken place—by force of arms—and a race are disfranchised—they are to be returned to a condition of serfdom—an era of second slavery,” he lamented to his wife.94 Sarcastically referring to Grant’s and Pierrepont’s words, he wrote, “The political death of the Negro will forever release the nation . . . from such ‘political outbreaks.’ You may think I exaggerate. Time will show you how accurate my statements are.”95 To head off threatened impeachment, he decided to resign after the election. His darkly prophetic letter previewed the nearly century-long Jim Crow system that would cast blacks back into a state of involuntary servitude to southern whites.
Ron Chernow (Grant)
When most people use the word ‘freedom’ nowadays, they use it in the sense of the French Revolutionaries: freedom from tradition, from established social institutions, from religious doctrines, from prescriptive duties. I think that this employment of the word does much mischief. For we do not live in an age—and there are such ages—which is oppressed by the dead weight of archaic establishments and obsolete custom. The danger in our era, rather, is that the fountains of the great deep will be broken up and that the pace of alteration will be so rapid that generation cannot link with generation. Our era, necessarily, is what Matthew Arnold called an epoch of concentration. Or, at least, the thinking American needs to turn his talents to concentration, the buttressing and reconstruction of our moral and social heritage. This is a time not for anarchic freedom, but for ordered freedom. There are much older and stronger concepts of freedom than that espoused by the French Revolutionaries. In the Christian tradition, freedom is submission to the will of God. This is no paradox. As he that would save his life must lose it, so the man who desires true freedom must recognize a providential order which gives all freedoms their sanction. The theory of ‘natural rights’ depends upon the premise of an on alterable human nature bestowed upon man by God. Only acceptance of the divine order can give enduring freedom to a society; for this lacking, there is no reason why the strong and the clever, the dominant majority or the successful oligarch, should respect the liberties of anyone else. Freedom without the theory of natural rights becomes simply the freedom of those who hold power to do as they like with the lives of those whose interests conflict with theirs.
Russell Kirk
Although Mollie’s disappearance created a stir in the Digbys’ neighborhood, it did not immediately warrant unusual notice in New Orleans as a whole. Hundreds of children went missing in the city every year. Most were later found and returned to their parents. In a metropolis plagued by crime and violence, moreover, Mollie’s disappearance was just one of many unsavory events that day. On that same Thursday, a boy stabbed his friend in the head in a dispute over a ball game. A jewel thief robbed a posh Garden District home. Two toughs fought a gory knife battle on St. Claude Avenue. A drowned child was found floating in the Mississippi River. A prostitute in the Tremé neighborhood stole $30 from a customer. Someone poisoned two family dogs. And two women in a saloon bloodied one another with broken ale bottles as they fought over a lover. Because crime was so common, most incidents received little attention. If a crime occurred in a poor district, on the docks, or in one of the infamous concert saloons, or if its victim was an immigrant or black person, it seldom warranted more than a sentence or two in the “City Intelligence” columns of the dailies. 5
Michael A. Ross (The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era)
It may be said of the Reconstruction era that the southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. He gave him Jim Crow. And when his stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Because the aurochs went extinct in the 1600s, recent in evolutionary terms, Heck felt sure he could reconstruct it, and in so doing save it, too, from "racial degeneration." He dreamt that, alongside the swastika, the bull might become synonymous with Nazism. Some drawings of the era showed the aurochs and a swastika joined in an emblem of ideological suavity combined with ferocious strength.
Diane Ackerman (The Zookeeper's Wife)
The court cases and acts of legislation that enshrined Jim Crow as the law of the land did not unfold in a vacuum. The larger context for them was the ideology of white supremacy, the set of beliefs and attitudes about the nature of black people that arose to justify their unprecedented economic exploitation in the transatlantic slave trade. Following the Civil War, this ideology evolved in order to maintain the country’s racial hierarchy in the face of emancipation and black citizenship. Anything but unmoored or isolated, white power was reinforced in this new era by the nation’s cultural, economic, educational, legal, and violently extralegal systems, including lynching. Among its root and branches were the paired mythology of white women’s rape and black men’s brutality, the convict-lease system, disenfranchisement, and the choking off of access to capital and property ownership. In many ways, this ideology still roams freely in our country today.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow)
Reconstruction era, “Black codes” replaced slave codes. Like their predecessors, the Black codes controlled the movements of formerly enslaved Black people, severely restricted liberty in employment and conduct, and continued to empower state police forces and the white population at large to enforce them.
Andrea Ritchie (Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color)
Chesnutt had spent most of his childhood in North Carolina and at the age of fourteen he had become a pupil-teacher at the Howard School, Fayetteville, one of many institutions founded for black students by the Freedmen’s Bureau during the Reconstruction era.
Charles W. Chesnutt (Delphi Complete Works of Charles W. Chesnutt (Illustrated))
In the aftermath of the [Civil War], we find one of the most hidden eras of US history. And that is the period of Radical Reconstruction. It certainly remains the most radical era in the entire history of the United States of America. And this is an era that is rarely acknowledged in historical texts. We had Black educated officials, the development of public education. As a matter of fact, former slaves fought for the right to public education; that is to say, education that did not cost money as your education here costs. I'll say here parenthetically -- the fight was for noncommodified education. And as a matter of fact white children in the South, poor white children, gained access to education as a direct result of the struggles of former slaves. There were progressive laws passed challenging male supremacy. This is an era that is rarely acknowledged.
Angela Y. Davis (Freedom is a Constant Struggle)
They will call the police, who will arrest this person, and for a night or two they will have a place to sleep in a jail cell. The police cannot solve poverty, joblessness, and the housing crisis—the actual culprits in the lives of the homeless. But if we’ve deemed the homeless, not poverty, the problem, then what the police can do is make them disappear. The major tools the police carry are handcuffs and guns; they can arrest or kill. The police can go forth and round up the homeless, then place them in cages. And to grant them the authority, local governments can criminalize the existence of the homeless: they can criminalize sleeping outside, or criminalize panhandling, which begins to look a lot like the criminalization of vagrancy as part of the Black Codes in the era that ended Reconstruction. And then, our local governments can fund a separate police force for the subway system to punish turnstile jumpers, arrest women selling churros, and clear out more homeless people, while neighborhood associations ensure no new homeless shelters get built near or in affluent neighborhoods. The streets remain the only place for them to call home.
Mychal Denzel Smith (Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream)
Sundown Towns After Reconstruction and before the civil rights era, signs like the one in our story popped up on the outskirts of thousands of small towns across the country, warning “colored people” to keep moving. This created a huge problem for the Black traveler and inspired an annual publication guidebook from 1936 to 1966 for African American motorists, called The Negro Motorist Green Book, or just the Green Book, after its editor, Victor Hugo Green. It also inspired the title of the Academy Awards’ 2019 winner for Best Picture.
Lynda Rutledge (West with Giraffes)
By the time Administrator Bremer departed, $8.8 billion in reconstruction funds—taxpayer money harvested during a recession while Bush tilted more of the tax burden onto the middle and working classes—had simply disappeared without leaving a paper trail, while American contractors selling the occupation everything from laundry detergent to private security reaped windfalls.
Spencer Ackerman (Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump)
Racial reformers have customarily requested or demanded that Americans, particularly White Americans, sacrifice their own privileges for the betterment of Black people. And yet, this strategy is based on one of the oldest myths in the modern era, a myth continuously produced and reproduced by racists and antiracists alike: that racism materially benefits the majority of White people, that White people would lose and not gain in the reconstruction of an antiracist America. It has been true that racist policies have benefited White people in general at the expense of Black people (and others) in general. That is the story of racism, of unequal opportunity in a nutshell. But it is also true that a society of equal opportunity, without a top 1 percent hoarding the wealth and power, would actually benefit the vast majority of southern Whites poor. It is not coincidental that slavery kept the vast majority of southern Whites poor. It is not coincidental that more White Americans thrived during the antiracist movements from the 1930s to the 1970s than ever before or since. It is not coincidental that the racist movements that followed in the late twentieth century paralleled the stagnation or reduction of middle and low income Whites’ salaries and their skyrocketing costs of living. Antiracists should stop connecting selfishness to racism, and unselfishness to antiracism. Altruism is wanted, not required. Antiracists do not have to be altruistic. Antiracists do not have to be selfless. Antiracists merely have to have intelligent self-interest, and to stop consuming those racist ideas that have engendered so much unintelligent self-interest over the years. It is in the intelligent self-interest of middle and upper income Blacks to challenge the racism affecting the Black poor, knowing they will not be free of the racism that is slowing their socioeconomic rise until poor blacks are free of racism. It is in the intelligent self-interest of Asians, Native Americans, and Latinos to challenge anti-Black racism, knowing they will not be free of racism until Black people are of racism. It is in the intelligent self-interest of White Americans to challenge racism, knowing they will not be free of sexism, class bias, homophobia, and ethnocentrism until Black people are free from racism. The histories of anti-Asian, anti-Native, and anti-Latino racist ideas; the histories of sexist, elitist, homophobic, and ethnocentric ideas all sound eerily similar to this history of racist ideas, and feature some of the same defenders of bigotry in America. Supporting these prevailing bigotries is only in the intelligent self-interest of a tiny group of super rich, Protestant, heterosexual, non-immigrant, White, Anglo-Saxon males. Those are the only people who need to be altruistic in order to be antiracist. The rest of us merely need to do the intelligent thing for ourselves.
Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America)
Before the summer of 2014, before we had seen Eric Garner dying on a Staten Island street and Michael Brown lifeless in the Missouri sun for hours, before the grand jury decisions and the die-ins that shut down interstates, we may have lulled ourselves into believing that the struggle was over, that it had all been taken care of back in 1964, that the marching and bloodshed had established, once and for all, the basic rights of people who had been at the bottom for centuries. We may have believed that, if nothing else, the civil rights movement had defined a bar beneath which we could not fall. But history tells us otherwise. We seem to be in a continuing feedback loop of repeating a past that our country has yet to address. Our history is one of spectacular achievement (as in black senators of the Reconstruction era or the advances that culminated in the election of Barack Obama) followed by a violent backlash that threatens to erase the gains and then a long, slow climb to the next mountain, where the cycle begins again.
Isabel Wilkerson (The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race)
In this turn against Reconstruction we see how the American idea of freedom is a living, evolving thing. Before, Greeley believed that simply ending slavery and providing a background of free labor policies would be enough to ensure that people could be self-sufficient, independent, and removed from the arbitrary domination of others. It led Greeley to promote ideas that were genuine and remarkable in creating this freedom, with free homesteads among the most important. But the challenge of Reconstruction showed Greeley that this wouldn’t be sufficient in a new era.
Mike Konczal (Freedom From the Market: America’s Fight to Liberate Itself from the Grip of the Invisible Hand)
From Reconstruction to the civil rights era, southern school boards spent as little as one-tenth the money on black schools as for white schools, openly starving them of resources that might afford them a chance to compete on level ground. School terms for black students were made shorter by months, giving them less time in class and more time in the field for the enrichment of the ruling caste.
Isabel Wilkerson (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents)
Advance Praise for THE GREAT NEW ORLEANS KIDNAPPING CASE: RACE, LAW, AND JUSTICE IN THE RECONSTRUCTION ERA "Michael Ross' The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case has all the elements one might expect from a legal thriller set in nineteenth-century New Orleans. Child abduction and voodoo. 'Quadroons.' A national headline-grabbing trial. Plus an intrepid creole detective.... A terrific job of sleuthing and storytelling, right through to the stunning epilogue." --Lawrence N. Powell, author of The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans "When little Mollie Digby went missing from her New Orleans home in the summer of 1870, her disappearance became a national sensation. In his compelling new book Michael Ross brings Mollie back. Read The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case for the extraordinary story it tells--and the complex world it reveals." --Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age "Michael Ross's account of the 1870 New Orleans kidnapping of a white baby by two African-American women is a gripping narrative of one of the most sensational trials of the post-Civil War South. Even as he draws his readers into an engrossing mystery and detective story, Ross skillfully illuminates some of the most fundamental conflicts of race and class in New Orleans and the region." --Dan T. Carter, University of South Carolina "The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case is a masterwork of narration, with twists, turns, cliff-hangers, and an impeccable level of telling detail about a fascinating cast of characters. The reader comes away from this immersive experience with a deeper and sadder understanding of the possibilities and limits of Reconstruction." --Stephen Berry, author of House of Abraham: Lincoln and The Todds, a Family Divided by War "The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case is such a great read that it is easy to forget that the book is a work of history, not fiction. Who kidnapped Mollie Digby? The book, however, is compelling because it is great history. As Ross explores the mystery of Digby's disappearance, he reconstructs the lives not just of the Irish immigrant parents of Mollie Digby and the women of color accused of her kidnapping, but also the broad range of New Orleanians who became involved in the case. The kidnapping thus serves as a lens on the possibilities and uncertainties of Reconstruction, which take on new meanings because of Ross's skillful research and masterful storytelling." --Laura F. Edwards, Duke University
Michael A. Ross (Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era)
Although originally from the North, Dawes had lived in New Orleans for decades, and he now suffered the same fate as other Southern whites who seemed to side with blacks during Reconstruction. Called “scalawags” by their critics, they faced intense pressure from those who hoped to restore white supremacy.
Michael A. Ross (The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era)
American exports reduced the cost of food in Europe faster than at any time since the Neolithic era. European peasants could not compete with cheap American grain and meat. Forced off the land, many of them immigrated to the United States. Some became American farmers; more became American workers.16
Richard White (The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896 (Oxford History of the United States))
While the Reconstruction Era was fraught with corruption and arguably doomed by the lack of land reform, the sweeping economic and political developments in that period did appear, at least for a time, to have the potential to seriously undermine, if not completely eradicate, the racial caste system in the South. With the protection of federal troops, African Americans began to vote in large numbers and seize control, in some areas, of the local political apparatus. Literacy rates climbed, and educated blacks began to populate legislatures, open schools, and initiate successful businesses. In 1867, at the dawn of the Reconstruction Era, no black men held political office in the South, yet three years later, at least 15 percent of all Southern elected officials were black. This is particularly extraordinary in light of the fact that fifteen years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - the high water mark of the Civil Rights Movement - fewer than 8 percent of all Southern elected officials were black.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Now there is an attempt to reverse the history, to go back to the happy days when the principles of economic rationalism briefly reigned, gravely demonstrating that people have no rights beyond what they can gain in the labor market. And since now the injunction to "go somewhere else" won't work, the choices are narrowed to the workhouse prison or starvation, as a matter of natural law, which reveals that any attempt to help the poor only harms them—the poor, that is; the rich are miraculously helped thereby, as when state power intervenes to bail our investors after the collapse of the highly-toured Mexican "economic miracle," or to save failing banks and industries, or to bar Japan from American markets to allow domestic corporations to reconstruct the steel, automotive, and electronics industry in the 1980s (amidst impressive rhetoric about free markets by the most protectionist administration in the postwar era and its acolytes). And far more; this is the merest icing on the cake. But the rest are subject to the iron principles of economic rationalism, now sometimes called "tough love" by those who allocate the benefits.
Noam Chomsky (Chomsky On Anarchism)
Wilson accepted the most distended idealization of the antebellum South and demonization of the black political participation that followed. "Domestic slaves were almost uniformly dealt with indulgently and even affectionately by their masters," he wrote. The Reconstruction era of African American governance in states with black majorities was "an extraordinary carnival of public crime." Wilson called the eventual suppression of black political activity "the natural, inevitable ascendancy of the whites."38
Douglas A. Blackmon (Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II)
THE PROMINENCE AND PROSPERITY of educated black Washingtonians attracted a racist backlash after the turn of the twentieth century. As legal disfranchisement shut down persistent pockets of black and Republican voting in the South, as racist thinking scaled the heights of modern science, as disputes between capital and labor grew more urgent, and as Reconstruction-era politicians—black and white—exited the stage, white Republicans began to shed their egalitarianism. White supremacy then arrived in Washington in full force with Woodrow Wilson and his Democrats in 1913.
Eric S. Yellin (Racism in the Nation's Service : Government Workers and the Color Line in Woodrow Wilson's America)
The Civil War was the true American Revolution. The Republican Party expropriated $3.5 trillion in “private property” in emancipating the South’s four million slaves. The Reconstruction that followed saw the country’s most oppressed people attempt to construct a new world free of their former masters’ whips. The fight against black slavery inspired battles against what was denounced as “wage slavery.” Such a spirit motivated the Knights of Labor, which started off with just nine members in 1869 but organized hundreds of thousands by the 1880s. It rallied workers in all trades and brought tens of thousands of black workers into what had been an overwhelmingly white movement.4 Just as many women joined up, as the Knights spanned from Pennsylvania mines to New York garment factories to Denver railroads and Alabama foundries.
Bhaskar Sunkara (The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality)
For like the [American] Revolution, Reconstruction was an era when the foundations of public life were thrown open for discussin. Republicanism offered a potent argument for black suffrage, but ruled out the massive disengranchisement of Southern whites.
Eric Foner (Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877)
horror of the post-Reconstruction South, local police sometimes joined in on the terrorizing of black communities that left thousands of black Americans dead.9 In the South, through the Jim Crow era and the civil rights movement, it was well known locally that many police officers were also members of the Ku Klux Klan. Through much of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries, American police forces were one of the greatest threats to the safety of black Americans. Our police force was not created to serve black Americans; it was created to police black Americans and serve white Americans
Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want to Talk About Race)
The problem was not that South Carolina’s Reconstruction-era government had been consumed by unprecedented graft. Indeed, it was the exact opposite. The very successes Miller highlighted, the actual record of Reconstruction in South Carolina, undermined white supremacy.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy)
The Ballad of John Axon was the first of a series created by MacColl, Seeger and BBC producer Charles Parker that shone the microphone like a searchlight into obscure or overlooked sectors of British society: fishermen, teenagers, motorway builders, miners, polio sufferers, even the nomadic travelling community. Gathered on the spot, their oral histories were reworked as intelligent and dynamic folk anthropology, attuned to their era’s nuanced tug-of-war between conservatism and progress. The eight programmes, broadcast by the BBC between 1958–64, were experiments conducted on the wireless, splicing spoken word, field recordings, sound effects, traditional folk song and newly composed material into audio essays that verged on the hypnotic. They were given a name that elegantly fused tradition and modernity: radio ballads. Until the mid-1950s standard BBC practice in making radio documentaries involved researchers visiting members of the public – ‘actuality characters’ – and talking to them, perhaps even recording them, then returning to headquarters and working out a script based on their testimonies. The original subjects would then be revisited and presented with the scripted version of their own words. That’s the reason such programmes sound so stilted to modern ears: members of the public are almost always speaking a scriptwriter’s distillation of their spontaneous thoughts. When MacColl and Charles Parker drove up to Stockport in the autumn of 1957 with an EMI Midget tape recorder in their weekend bags, they planned to interview Axon’s widow and his colleagues for information, then turn their findings into a dramatic reconstruction featuring actors and musicians. In fact, they stayed in the area for around a fortnight and ended up with more than forty hours of voices and location recordings. The material, they agreed, was too good to tamper with.
Rob Young (Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music)
Since its founding in 1929, the DNC fought against every civil rights initiative proposed in the U.S. The Democratic Party defended slavery, started the Civil War, opposed Reconstruction, provided the foot soldiers for the KKK, imposed segregation, perpetuated lynching throughout the country, imposed labor policies intended to hurt blacks, and fought against most of the civil rights acts of the 20th century.
Horace Cooper (How Trump Is Making Black America Great Again: The Untold Story of Black Advancement in the Era of Trump)
After Reconstruction ended, and when the federal troops who had stayed behind to protect newly freed black slaves went home, Democrats came back into power in the South. They quickly reestablished white supremacy across the region with measures like black codes --- laws that restricted the ability of blacks to own property and start businesses. They imposed poll taxes and literacy tests used to subvert black citizens' voting rights. These laws were enforced by terror, much of it instigated by the KKK, which was founded by Democrat Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Horace Cooper (How Trump Is Making Black America Great Again: The Untold Story of Black Advancement in the Era of Trump)
Although the theories of conquered provinces, state suicide, and the like did not disappear, the “republican form of government” clause became by 1863 [Page 703] the basis for both presidential and congressional approaches to reconstruction.
James M. McPherson (Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era)
In 1867, at the dawn of the Reconstruction Era, no black man held political office in the South, yet three years later, at least 15 percent of all Southern elected officials were black. This is particularly extraordinary in light of the fact that fifteen years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965—the high water mark of the Civil Rights Movement—fewer than 8 percent of all Southern elected officials were black.15
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
One of the great challenges in reconstructing a mass extinction is making sense of what happened when. In the same way we have divided living things into a hierarchy of divisions—domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species—geologists have broken apart the long history of our planet into eon, era, period, epoch, and age.
Bill Nye (Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation)
Angrily watching the GOP snatch southern states in the presidential election, he decided to remind White southerners that the Republicans had been responsible for the horror of Reconstruction. His best-selling book, published in 1929, was called The Tragic Era: The Revolution After Lincoln. “Historians have shrunk from the unhappy tasks of showing us the torture chambers,” he said, where guiltless southern Whites were “literally” tortured by vicious Black Republicans. We will never know just how many Americans read The Tragic Era, and then saw The Birth of a Nation again at their local theaters, and then pledged never to vote again for the Republican Party, never to miss a lynching bash, and never to consider desegregation—in short, never to do anything that might revive the specter of Blacks voting on a large scale and Whites being tortured. But there were many of them. More than any other book in the late 1920s, The Tragic Era helped the Democratic Party keep the segregationists in power for another generation.15
Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America)
The Reconstruction era—the dozen or so years following the end of the Civil War in 1865—had been a horrific time for southern White men like Wade Hampton who were used to ruling their Black people and their women. They faced and beat back with violence and violent ideas a withering civil rights and Black empowerment movement—as well as a powerful women’s movement that failed to grab as many headlines. But their supposed underlings did not stop rebelling after the fall of Reconstruction. To intimidate and reassert their control over rebellious Blacks and White women, White male redeemers took up lynching in the 1880s. Someone was lynched, on average, every four days from 1889 to 1929. Often justifying the ritualistic slaughters on a false rumor that the victim had raped a White woman, White men, women, and children gathered to watch the torture, killing, and dismemberment of human beings—all the while calling the victims savages. Hate fueled the lynching era. But behind this hatred lay racist ideas that had evolved to question Black freedoms at every stage. And behind these racist ideas were powerful White men, striving by word and deed to regain absolute political, economic, and cultural control of the South.24
Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America)
The standpoint to be expressed is perfectly clear. The knowledge of having dominion over the world which is part of the Christian Faith, creates strong characters that cannot be shaken. It gives men a feeling of great stability in the vicissitudes of life, a steady purpose in all the activities of this world, an unconditional reliability and fidelity in all the changes of time, an untiring diligence in everything that has to be accomplished. When the nucleus of a nation is composed of men of this stamp, or when a spirit such as this dominates a people, a wonderful source of strength thus exists for them. For men of this kind guarantee invincible calm, endurance, equability and steadfastness of soul in the spirit of the nation. This spirit can moreover, preserve a nation from inner disintegration and dissolution, and can guide it from an era of destruction into an age of reconstruction, of unity and solidarity. Consequently the permanent recovery of our German Volk also comes “from within”, that is to say from the sources of holy life dwelling in the depths of the soul by virtue of kinship with God. And precisely in the heroic fight to be won before our Volk can hope to recover from its collapse, there can be no better source of strength than the life-giving streams that flow from the depths of the Godhead into the soul of the nation open to receive them. For the consciousness of having dominion over the world gives God’s children strength to overcome all difficulties, to become indomitable fighters, to ward off every danger in a cheerful spirit, to break down all obstacles boldly and courageously, and form a brave knighthood scorning death and the devil.
Cajus Fabricius (Positive Christianity in the Third Reich)