Race And Reunion, By David Blight

882 Words4 Pages
As David Blight says in his novel, Race and Reunion, after the Civil War and emancipation, Americans were faced with the overwhelming task of trying to understand the relationship between “two profound ideas—healing and justice.” While he admits that both had to occur on some level, healing from the war was not the same “proposition” for many whites, especially veterans, as doing justice for the millions of emancipated slaves and their descendants (Blight 3). Blight claims that African Americans did not want an apology for slavery, but instead a helping hand. Thus, after the Civil War, two visions of Civil War memory arose and combined: the reconciliationist vison, which focused on the issue of dealing with the dead from the battlefields, hospitals, and prisons, and the emancipationist vision, which focused on African Americans’ remembrance of their own freedom and in conceptions of the war as the “liberation of [African Americans] to citizenship and Constitutional equality” (Blight 2). The era of Reconstruction was a fourteen-year period following the Civil War filled with political and constitutional strife, extreme suffering, grand political ambitions and huge turns in race relations and human rights (Blight 32). During this period, many Americans realized that remembering the war “became, with time, easier than struggling over the enduring ideas for which those battles had been fought” (Blight 31). To people such as Frederick Douglass, a reborn United States could not
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