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

Front Cover
Macmillan, Mar 4, 2008 - History - 352 pages
7 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  - Glenn Robinson - Goodreads

Incredible book. Well researched. A very sad event in the US history where Whites massacred Blacks and got away with it. From what should have been a slam dunk legal case got brought down by legal precedents and manueverings. Very suspenseful and told well. Read full review

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

User Review  - Melih Onvural - Goodreads

First time in a long time that I haven't been able to put a book down. A really excellent expose of the events that went into how Reconstruction ended in the US, and how local they started regardless of how national it ended up being. Fantastic book for any history buff. Read full review

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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