The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction (Google eBook)

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Macmillan, Mar 4, 2008 - History - 352 pages
19 Reviews
The untold story of the slaying of a Southern town’s ex-slaves and a white lawyer’s historic battle to bring the perpretators to justice Following the Civil War, Colfax, Louisiana, was a town, like many, where African Americans and whites mingled uneasily. But on April 13, 1873, a small army of white ex–Confederate soldiers, enraged after attempts by freedmen to assert their new rights, killed more than sixty African Americans who had occupied a courthouse. With skill and tenacity, The Washington Post’s Charles Lane transforms this nearly forgotten incident into a riveting historical saga.
 
Seeking justice for the slain, one brave U.S. attorney, James Beckwith, risked his life and career to investigate and punish the perpetrators—but they all went free. What followed was a series of courtroom dramas that culminated at the Supreme Court, where the justices’ verdict compromised the victories of the Civil War and left Southern blacks at the mercy of violent whites for generations. The Day Freedom Died is an electrifying piece of historical detective work that captures a gallery of characters from presidents to townspeople, and re-creates the bloody days of Reconstruction, when the often brutal struggle for equality moved from the battlefield into communities across the nation.
  

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Review: The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of Reconstruction

User Review  - Lynn - Goodreads

This book brought all the pieces home to me on why Reconstruction ended and Jim Crow began. I knew about the Rutherford B Hayes election and Plessy vs. Fergusson but didn't completely get the bigger ... Read full review

Review: The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of Reconstruction

User Review  - Kelley - Goodreads

This is a very difficult book to get into if you aren't necessarily familiar or don't really care about legal jargon, however it is necessary to tell the story. There is a lot of background here and ... Read full review

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Contents

Prologue
1
Wholesale Murder
9
From Plantation to Parish
23
Power Struggle
44
War
63
Blood on the Red
90
BlackLetter Law
110
Manhunt
127
If Louisiana Goes
215
The Court Speaks
229
Epilogue
251
How Many Died?
265
Notes
267
Selected Bibliography
307
Acknowledgments
313
Index
317

Louisiana on Trial
154
A Justices Judgment
186

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About the author (2008)

Charles Lane discovered the Colfax Massacre case while covering the Supreme Court for The Washington Post. His journalism career has taken him from Washington to Tokyo, Berlin to Bosnia, Havana to Johannesburg. A former editor of The New Republic, Lane has written for Foreign Affairs, The New York Review of Books, and The Atlantic. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard and studied law at Yale. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

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