Freedom's Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders During Reconstruction
The Reconstruction period was one of great changes in American political and social life. Within a few years of the end of the Civil War and the demise of slavery, large numbers of black Americans appeared in public office. Their appearance marked a dramatic break with the nation's traditions and aroused bitter hostility from the opponents of Reconstruction. Freedom's Lawmakers is the first comprehensive directory of America's first generation of black public officials - those who held office during the Reconstruction era that followed the Civil War. The nearly 1,500 officials listed here - from congressmen to justices of the peace to constables - offer a panorama of the black community in all its diversity - freeborn and slave, Northern and Southern, rich and poor. Eric Foner draws on primary resources as well as the literature on Reconstruction that has appeared in the past generation to provide information about the antebellum status, occupation, property ownership, military service, and other attributes of black officeholders. Concise biographies trace the life histories of these previously unknown individuals who played a major role in America's first experiment in interracial democracy. Abundantly illustrated with more than 100 photographs, Freedom's Lawmakers illuminates an important period in American History and will be an important reference for students and scholars of American history and African-American studies.
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