Emancipation And The Historical Memory Of Reconstruction Essay

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Emancipation and the Historical Memory of Reconstruction EricR.Jackson Northern Kentucky University Department of History and Geography Eric R. Jackson, associate professor of history and director of the Black Studies Program at Northern Kentucky University, received his BS from Ball State University (1988) and both his MA (1992) and doctorate (2000) from the University of Cincinnati. He is known for his publications in the fields of African American history/studies, early American history, and race relation studies. After the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment and into the Reconstruction era, African Americans struggled to become equal citizens of the nation and produced a number of important and remarkable leaders who demonstrated to a rapidly changing and complex society that they could vote, hold political offices, and legislate effectively. However, the bitterness and regular acts of violence toward African Americans that characterized most of this period has caused many Americans to disregard or totally erase from their collective memories this most important period in the nation?s history. This article discusses more fully the historical memory of Reconstruction. The American Civil War (1861?1865) ended with a decisive victory for the Union. The Confederacy was defeated soundly; the enslavement of about four million people of color was over. Enslavement had been a powerful and fundamental economic institution in the United States for about 250 years and had

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