Reconstruction was a turbulent time, filled with significant political and social change, violence, and controversy. One controversial figure was Albion Tourgee, an Ohioan who moved to North Carolina for economic opportunities.
Subject: African American
Self-help efforts are fascinating and laudable stories. A particularly interesting one is how, in an age of de jure segregation, charitable and creative African-Americans were agents of change in their communities and were able to alleviate various economic and social problems.
After the Civil War, former slaves were encouraged to participate in a free-labor economy. But much of the South lay in ruins. It was difficult to find work, much less start enterprising careers.
In my experiences teaching United States history, students have a misconception that American slavery was strictly an agricultural institution. The slave labor experience, in particular, is considered one that existed entirely on plantation fields, sowing, tending, or harvesting cash crops — tobacco, cotton, or rice. Not all rural slaves worked on plantations, though; many toiled on smaller farms with a workforce of five to 10 field hands.
A list of scholarship on Reconstruction in America and North Carolina.
A list of important sources and further readings on American Reconstruction and Reconstruction in North Carolina.
During the past 30 to 40 years, historians have revived for Americans the legacy of Frederick Douglass (1818–95). Before then, his accomplishments largely had been swept up, dropped into the dustbin of history, and left out of view.
There is a deficiency in many recent histories that ignores how more than a few African-Americans found a way to prosper even during difficult times. African-Americans often were agents of change, even within a repressive environment. It is important to recognize how black entrepreneurs and property holders found niches of liberty within an oppressive system, and to examine the lessons we can learn from their experiences.
A North Carolina native, Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first African American to serve in the U.S. Senate and in U.S. Congress
In 1794, a Granville County slave, Quillo, was accused of plotting a slave rebellion.