• The Long, Sordid History of Expelling Black Lawmakers

    by David A. Love

    Throughout the reconstruction era (and after) Black lawmakers faced challenges to their legitimacy by proponents of antidemocratic rule by a white elite. 

  • Zora Neal Hurston's Town is one of Many Imperiled Historic Sites

    by Nick Tabor

    Eatonville has temporarily prevented a large development that many residents feared would lead to gentrification and the erasure of Black history in the Florida town, but it is just one example of the difficulty facing efforts to preserve sites of African American history. 

  • Kara Walker Disrupts the Visual History of the Civil War in New Exhibition

    by Allison Robinson and Ksenia M. Soboleva

    The artist Kara Walker's 2005 series of prints merged the historical illustrations that shaped Americans' understanding of the Civil War in its immediate aftermath and in the 1890s with her original subversive take on the tradition of silhouette art to highlight the erasure of Black experiences of war. Two curators are putting Walker's work in context in a new exhibition.

  • Kidada Williams on The Reconstruction that Wasn't

    In the new "I Saw Death Coming," Williams describes a "shadow Confederacy" that refused to cede freedom or dignity to African Americans who often lived far from the reach of a federal government that was unreliably committed to their protection. 

  • Albion Tourgée's Forgotten Proposal for Power to the People

    by Brook Thomas

    The Black Republican activist hoped to draft a Reconstruction constitution for North Carolina that vested power in the people, which might have prevented the potential mischief that could be unleashed by Supreme Court cases that threaten to empower state legislatures to thwart democracy. 

  • The Freedman's Bank Forum Obscures the Institution's Real History

    by Justene Hill Edwards

    Vice President Kamala Harris's recent remarks at the forum enlisted the Freedman's Bank to celebrate public-private partnerships between banks and minority communities. The real history of the Freedman's Bank shows why public-private partnerships and moral uplift are inadequate to promote financial equity. 

  • The Democrats Haven't Learned the Lessons of the Nation's First Voting Rights Act

    by Ed Burmila

    Beginning with the failure of the Lodge Act in 1890, parties have treated voting rights as just one of many policy priorities competing for space on the agenda and scarce political capital, instead of a basic precondition of functioning democracy. Democrats today are repeating this mistake. 

  • Will the 2022 Midterms Echo 1866?

    by Manisha Sinha

    A rogue president inciting violence, economic uncertainty, and political factionism threatening to erupt into violence: In 1866, the severity of southern reaction pushed other voters out of complacency to keep reconstruction on track. Will outrage over January 6 and abortion restrictions similarly safeguard the halting turn away from Trump? 

  • The Promise and Peril of the "Third Reconstruction"

    by Peniel E. Joseph

    At a time when the nation is balanced precariously between advocates for multiracial democracy and white nationalists, it is important to understand the history and the incompleteness of the expansion of freedom and democracy during Reconstruction.