I don’t know how to handle this History question and need guidance.
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.
- Discuss three examples of challenges for black women and men in the Reconstruction era.
- 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.