Tunis Campbell had also served in the Freedmen’s Bureau, where he was in charge of the initial land redistribution in the Sea Island region of Georgia. When President Johnson pardoned former Confederates in 1865 and allowed former slaveholders to reclaim their land, Campbell organized the black community and purchased land to better secure the rights, property, and safety of his community. Like many other black leaders from both the North and the South, Campbell then became a leader in Southern state and local Republican politics. With the support of congressional legislation and federal troops, many Southern states were required to implement African-American suffrage in their reconstructed legislatures and state constitutional conventions. People such as Campbell and the Reverend Henry McNeal Turner served prominently in the Reconstruction state constitutional conventions, and many black veterans and officers of the Freedmen’s Bureau served in the conventions and the Reconstruction legislatures.
Through these interracial political bodies, many Southern states ratified the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which would likely not have been ratified without black political participation, both as voters and as convention delegates. Several Southern states also passed broad legislative reform programs that included laws desegregating public accommodations, founding and supporting public schooling, and reforming criminal laws and punishments. Moreover, the composition of these legislatures reflected the broad civil society that had formed so quickly in Southern black communities. Of the African-American members of these reconstructed state legislatures, over one hundred were ministers and seventy were teachers, attesting to the importance of religious organizations and education in the civil and political life of the black South. This is evident, for instance, in the career of Reverend Turner, a South Carolina free man. Turner was trained as a minister and appointed by President Lincoln as the Union army’s first black chaplain. Like Tunis Campbell, Turner worked for the Freedmen’s Bureau in Georgia after the war. He later founded the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Georgia and served in the state legislature until he was expelled without cause.
The Collective Imagination explores the social foundations of the human imagination. In a lucid and wide-ranging discussion, Peter Murphy looks at the collective expression of the imagination in our economies, universities, cities, and political systems, providing a tour-de-force account of the power of the imagination to unite opposites and find similarities among things that we ordinarily think of as different. It is not only individuals who possess the power to imagine; societies do as well. A compelling journey through various peak moments of creation, this book examines the cities and nations, institutions and individuals who ply the paraphernalia of paradoxes and dialogues, wry dramaturgy and witty expression that set the act of creation in motion. Whilst exploring the manner in which, through the media of pattern, figure, and shape, and the miracles of metaphor, things come into being, Murphy recognises that creative periods never last: creative forms invariably tire; inventive centres inevitably fade. The Collective Imagination explores the contemporary dilemmas and historic pathos caused by this-as cities and societies, periods and generations slip behind in the race for economic and social discovery. Left bewildered and bothered, and struggling to catch up, they substitute empty bombast, faded glory, chronic dullness or stolid glumness for initiative, irony, and inventiveness. A comprehensive audit of the creativity claims of the post-modern age - that finds them badly wanting and looks to the future - The Collective Imagination will appeal to sociologists and philosophers concerned with cultural theory, cultural and media studies and aesthetics.
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The rebuilding of Southern society and the political reintegration of the South into the nation after the Civil War is referred to more generally simply as Reconstruction. Unfortunately, for the first half of the twentieth century, scholarly and historical attention focused almost exclusively on the actions of whites, both in the South and in the North, and ignored the immense contributions of African Americans. Moreover, to the extent that white historians considered the activities of African Americans at all, for much of the twentieth century they adopted the white supremacist views that Columbia University professor William Dunning and his followers held at the turn of the nineteenth century. These historians denigrated Reconstruction as a “mistake” precisely because black Americans briefly attained some political power in the regions of their former bondage. This view was reproduced in popular form by the film The Birth of a Nation (1915) and the book on which it was based, The Clansman (1902), both of which stigmatized African Americans and lauded white terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. The history of Reconstruction became a principal means by which whites, in both the South and the North, manipulated historical memories in order to reify a post-slavery racialism.
As part of this battle for black equality and power during Reconstruction, African Americans throughout the South developed newer strategies for claiming rights through demonstrations and protests. In New Orleans, for instance, African Americans and white supporters marched in July 1866 in favor of suffrage in what has been described as the first American civil rights march. The New Orleans Race Riot of 1866 erupted when the marchers were met by an angry, violent white mob. Other forms of protest included successful sit-ins on streetcars in Richmond, Charleston, and New Orleans in 1867. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which gave private persons a right of action against owners of segregated public accommodations, also inspired protest actions and litigation. Black workers also engaged in strikes for better working conditions, both in the early years of Reconstruction and in the waning days of the late 1870s into the 1880s when a national union, the Knights of Labor, supported black workers in the South.
Blacks also saw significant political success in Louisiana, where Oscar J. Dunn, P. B. S. Pinchback, and Caesar Antoine served as lieutenant governors for most of the Reconstruction era. Pinchback even served as America’s first black governor for a brief period. In Mississippi, African Americans held positions as lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and superintendent of education, and John R. Lynch served as Speaker of the House and was subsequently elected to Congress. All told, twenty-two African Americans served in Congress as a result of Reconstruction, and more than 600 African Americans served in state legislatures throughout the South, mostly from 1868 through 1877.
Galloway and other leaders, such as Tunis Campbell in Georgia, soon discovered that the resistance of most white Southerners to citizenship claims by blacks was swift and violent. First, in 1865 and 1866, the white South passed the ”Black Codes,” separate laws modeled in part on the antebellum laws restricting free blacks in both the North and South. These laws restricted basic contract and property rights for African Americans, imposed particularly severe criminal and vagrancy punishments, and otherwise established a legal basis for second-class citizenship. In turn, these reactionary laws radicalized the Republican Party in Congress, which passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to outlaw the Black Codes. Then, in 1867, the Congress passed Reconstruction legislation that required black suffrage as a condition of readmission of the former Confederate states to the Union.
While the Compromise of 1877 marked the sharpest sign that Reconstruction was over, its full demise took several more years. In 1883, the U.S. Supreme Court extinguished the embers of Reconstruction when it ruled, in the Civil Rights Cases, that the federal Civil Rights Act of 1875, the last of the federal Reconstruction Acts that sought to protect civil rights in public accommodations, was unconstitutional. In this and related cases, the Supreme Court ensured that the Constitution would be transformed from a document creating equal citizenship to a roadblock to freedom. Still, for a period ofabout fifteen years, African Americans in certain areas of the South maintained some level of political power, particularly where they were able to join with populist white politicians, and where the law had not yet reverted to the Jim Crow regime of legally compelled segregation that had been implemented before Reconstruction under the Black Codes. The achievements of Reconstruction thus lingered for several years, finally falling away near the turn of the century with the federal acceptance of legal segregation in Plessey v. Ferguson and the complete implementation of disenfranchisement by the start of the twentieth century.
One can trace the beginnings of Black Reconstruction to the service of some 160,000 former slaves and 40,000 free African Americans who served as soldiers in the Union during the Civil War. These soldiers not only provided the manpower essential to the North’s victory, they also staked an undeniable claim to be transformed from a state of slavery into full citizenship after the war. Many of these former soldiers became integral to the black and interracial civic and political organizations in the South. This story is evident, for example, in the experience of Abraham Galloway, who had been born a slave near Wilmington, North
This defeat of Reconstruction and its promise of racial equality and equal citizenship has led many people to see that era as a tragic failure. W. E. B. Du Bois famously wrote in 1935: ”the slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.” While such a conclusion is correct in terms of the fundamental access of African Americans to political and economic power, one should not forget that some of the structures built by blacks, and some of the hopes fostered by the experiences