hist 117 Reconstruction and Its Legacy Discussions

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Reconstruction and Its Legacy Discussions

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US History courses often close with the Reconstruction era as a way to finish, or perhaps tidy up, the history of slavery in America, that with the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amend., slavery could finally be held as a difficult subject that can be compartmentalized in the past. I invite you to think of Reconstruction not as an end but as a beginning to a whole new set of (old) problems for blacks in America. Some would argue that the end of institutionalized slavery was a cause for celebration, and of course, I am not comparing chattel slavery to anything else as being regarded as property could not be more dehumanizing. I do, however, argue that racial prejudice and institutionalized racism cannot be so easily shut on and off, and extricated from our society, culture, politics and economy by a signed document.

As we close out our own history course, I ask that you continue to make connections to our past, whether they be inspiring or shameful. History, as I stated at the very start of the course, always seems to repeat itself. As students of history, I hope that you can see patterns of human responses in our country’s past because history, when it it is all said and done, is a result of people’s actions and choices. Hopefully, we can read about our past and make better choices in the future.

Having watched my lecture video, respond to the questions below.

  1. Discuss three examples of challenges for black women and men in the Reconstruction era.
  2. Compare and contrast these three examples with the challenges for slaves before the Civil War.

Next, respond to two of your peers by commenting on their posts — pick one of their examples comment specifically on the compare/contrast portion of their initial response.

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