Review: Valelly: The Two Reconstructions
The American Prospect has praised Richard M. Valelly’s The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement. In the review, Robert Kuttner said, "Richard M. Valelly’s magisterial work The Two Reconstructions will stand for a long time as the definitive political analysis of racial suppression and redemption in American democracy."
The Reconstruction era marked a huge political leap for African Americans, who rapidly went from the status of slaves to voters and officeholders. Yet this hard-won progress lasted only a few decades. Ultimately a "second reconstruction"—associated with the civil rights movement and the Voting Rights Act—became necessary. How did the first reconstruction fail so utterly, setting the stage for the complete disenfranchisement of Southern black voters, and why did the second succeed? These are among the questions Richard M. Valelly answers in this fascinating history.
Read an op-ed by the author.