In cities ravaged by years of bloodshed and warfare, how did black populations, many formerly enslaved, help shape the new world that the Civil War left open for them to mold? In Dr. Hilary Green
’s book Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools In The Urban South, 1865-1890
(Fordham University Press, 2016), she answers that question and more. Dr. Green chronicles the history of the black educational struggles in the urban centers of Richmond, Virginia and Mobile, Alabama during the Reconstruction period. During Reconstruction, African Americans fought vigorously on behalf of their race to have educational opportunities to better themselves in the postbellum South. Weathering the storms of physical violence, arson, political strife, and overall incivility in Richmond and Mobile, Dr. Green recovers the important history of how African Americans saw the interconnectedness of educational attainment to democracy and citizenship.
Adam McNeil is a PhD student in History, African American Public Humanities Initiative and Colored Conventions Project Fellow at the University of Delaware. He can be reached on Twitter @CulturedModesty.