Capitol Men: The Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the by Philip Dray

By Philip Dray

Reconstruction used to be a time of idealism and sweeping swap, because the positive Union created citizenship rights for the freed slaves and granted the vote to black males. 16 black Southerners, elected to the U.S. Congress, arrived in Washington to suggest reforms akin to public schooling, equivalent rights, land distribution, and the suppression of the Ku Klux Klan.
yet those males confronted incredible odds. They have been belittled as corrupt and insufficient by way of their white political rivals, who used legislative trickery, libel, bribery, and the brutal intimidation in their materials to rob them in their base of help. regardless of their prestige as congressmen, they have been made to suffer the worst humiliations of racial prejudice. they usually were principally forgotten—often ignored or maligned by means of ordinary histories of the period.
during this fantastically written publication, Philip Dray reclaims their tale. Drawing on archival records, modern information money owed, and congressional documents, he exhibits how the efforts of black american citizens printed their political perceptiveness and readiness to function electorate, electorate, and elected officials.
We meet males just like the struggle hero Robert Smalls of South Carolina (who had stolen a accomplice vessel and added it to the Union navy), Robert Brown Elliott (who bested the previous vp of the Confederacy in a stormy debate at the apartment floor), and the celebrated former slave Blanche ok. Bruce (who was once stated to own “the manners of a Chesterfield”). As Dray demonstrates, those males have been eloquent, artistic, and infrequently potent representatives who, as aid for Reconstruction pale, have been undone via the forces of Southern response and northerly indifference.
In a grand narrative that strains the promising but tragic arc of Reconstruction, Dray follows those black representatives’ struggles, from the Emancipation Proclamation to the onset of Jim Crow, as they fought for social justice and helped observe the promise of a brand new nation.

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Extra resources for Capitol Men: The Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the Lives of the First BlackCongressmen

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Garrison was the editor of the Liberator, the nation's most ardent abolitionist publication, and a founder, along with his fellow Bostonian Phillips, of the influential American Anti-Slavery Society. Beecher, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, occupied the most famous pulpit in the country at Brooklyn's Plymouth Church. This was a day of tremendous vindication for these men and their principled fight against slavery. The abolitionists had been abused for three decades, criticized as hateful agitators, and worse; Garrison had been stripped of his clothes by a Boston mob and almost hanged; Phillips had nearly been killed at a public meeting in Cincinnati by a boulder hurled down from a balcony.

Had been taken possession by her colored crew, steamed up and boldly run out to the blockaders," the article read. " The paper, in its account of "this extraordinary occurrence," noted that one of the Negroes aboard the boat belonged to Mrs. McKee, and reported that it appeared from shore that the Yankees were already stripping the captured ship of its deck guns. This represented a hurtful loss at a time when the Confederacy was desperate for reliable ordnance, but to the federals, the acquisition of the Planter's guns was only a secondary gift.

The North thinks the Southern people are especially angry because of the loss of slave property," wrote the North Carolina Unionist Albion Tourgee. " As the Virginian George Mason railed, "The noble Caucasian, in whose very look and gait the God of creation has stamped a blazing superiority, [must] bow down to and be governed by the sable African, upon whom the same God has put the ineffaceable mark of inferiority! A more flagrant desecration of the representative principle ... " Faded prints of the engraving still hung in modest sharecroppers' cabins when researchers from the Works Project Administration visited the Southern Black Belt in the 1930s.

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