Reconstruction

1860s

Overview When Booker T. Washington recalled the outbreak of the Civil War, he claimed that “every slave on our plantation felt and knew that, though other issues were discussed, the primal one was that of slavery.”  Washington’s memory of life as young slave…

1870s

Overview The term “Reconstruction” has more than one meaning in American history.  Usually it refers to the period from 1863 to 1877, as the federal government worked to “reconstruct” or “restore” former Confederate states back in the national system of…

VIDEO –Interview on Emancipation

Robert Engs (1943-2013) was a leading historian of nineteenth-century America who visited Dickinson College in spring 2008 as a presenter in one of our teacher workshops.  While on campus, he offered some insights about how to explain the outlook of former…

MAP –Up From Slavery

This map is built on snippets from Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery (1901) and offers a teachable overview of Washington’s life as he transformed himself during Reconstruction into a leading figure in American society.  Additional resources for this map can be…

ESSAY –End of Civil War

In 2015, Matthew Pinsker wrote a short essay for the Smithsonian / Zocalo Public Square series, “What It Means To Be American,” on the subject of the debates about civil rights that erupted among abolitionists at the end of the…