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The Two Reconstructions
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The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement

Richard M. Valelly


The Reconstruction era marked a huge political leap for African Americans, who rapidly went from the status of slaves to voters and officeholders. Yet this hard-won progress lasted only a few decades. Ultimately a “second reconstruction”—associated with the civil rights movement and the Voting Rights Act—became necessary. How did the first reconstruction fail so utterly, setting the stage for the complete disenfranchisement of Southern black voters, and why did the second succeed? These are among the questions answered in this book. The fate of black enfranchisement, the book argues, has been ... More

Keywords: Reconstruction era, African Americans, voters, officeholders, second reconstruction, civil rights movement, Voting Rights Act, disenfranchisement, black enfranchisement, biracial coalitions

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780226845289
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226845272.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Richard M. Valelly, author