Make Good the Promises: Reclaiming Reconstruction and Its Legacies

Edited by Kinshasha Holman Conwill and Paul Gardullo. Amistad, $29.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-316064-4
Paroxysms of Southern white rage short-circuited Reconstruction, according to this concise yet powerful companion volume to an upcoming exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Museum directors Conwill and Gardullo gather an impressive line-up of historians and curators, including Eric Foner and Kimberlé Crenshaw, to document the brief period of post–Civil War uplift that delivered citizenship, voting rights, and, in some cases, land to newly liberated African Americans. The contributors also detail how so-called Redeemers worked feverishly to claw back gains that Congress granted, resulting in Blacks’ hopes for true equality being dashed by “terror, racist propaganda, and political malfeasance.” UCLA law professor and critical race theorist Crenshaw views America’s long history of “racial retrenchment” following “stirrings of freedom’s possibilities” through the lens of the 2015 attack on Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., by a white supremacist, and documents the role Black women have played in the “struggle for liberation.” Other essays link George Floyd’s murder by police officers in 2020 to the rise of “white terror gangs” in the 1860s and ’70s, and document recent campaigns to bring down Confederate monuments. Firmly planted in both the past and the present, this is an excellent introduction to an oft-misunderstood chapter in American history. Illus. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/28/2021
Release date: 09/14/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-06-316066-8
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