Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880
Author: W.E.B. DuBois
Reader's Review: This is probably the most important book I’ve read on American history and how it informs our present race and class relations. DuBois’ masterwork dissects the lead up to the Civil War, the war itself, and the critical period directly after the war which brought the nation the closest it has ever been to real, multiracial democracy before regressing back towards slavery in other forms. His work has a specific focus on Black folks’ contributions to the Union victory and the shaping of democracy in the South, contributions that were largely ignored by white historians up until (and after) Black Reconstruction’s publication in 1935. At over 700 pages, it is big and at times dense, but DuBois’ insight, wit, and pro-Black conviction make this book as rewarding as it is daunting. I give it my highest recommendation.  “The true significance of slavery in the United States to the whole social development of America lay in the ultimate relation of slaves to democracy. What were to be the limits of democratic control in the United States? If all labor, black as well as white, became free—were given schools and the right to vote—what control could or should be set to the power and action of these laborers? Was the rule of the mass of Americans to be unlimited, and the right to rule extended to all men regardless of race and color, or if not, what power of dictatorship and control; and how would property and privilege be protected? This was the great and primary question that was in the minds of the men who wrote the Constitution of the United States and continued in the minds of thinkers down through the slavery controversy. It still remains with the world as the problem of democracy expands and touches all races and nations.” (13) --Read and recommended by Brother Chris Darby 
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The pioneering work in the study of the role of Black Americans during Reconstruction by the most influential Black intellectual of his time.