• 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 TourgĂ©e'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. 

  • The Second Floundering

    by Brook Thomas

    Although scholars have identified the Reconstruction Amendments as a redemption of the flaws of the original Constitution, it's important to understand, as critics did at the time, that the 14th and 15th Amendments left many gaps in the American democracy. 

  • W.E.B. DuBois's Abolition Democracy

    by Gerald Horne

    DuBois understood the impossibility of separating a historical analysis of Reconstruction from the political context of Jim Crow racial totalitarianism and exploitative capitalism. 

  • Lies We Teach to Kids about the Reconstruction Era

    by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca

    "The narrative of Reconstruction perpetuated by many state social studies standards is part of a longer and larger struggle over the past, the latest episode of which can be seen in a rash of new restrictions on what teachers can tell young people about our nation’s history.