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The Reconstruction Era, 1865-77

5. Reconstruction and Racial Violence

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the importance of racial violence in this period, focusing in particular on: (i) the series of race riots that take place in the years following the Civil War: Norfolk, Memphis, New Orleans and Gallatin County, Kentucky; (ii) the growth and spread of violent white power groups such as the Ku Klux Klan; (iii) the sense in which the racial violence was concentrated not in the southern heartlands, but in border states such as Kentucky; (iv) the extent to which the political chaos in Washington crated a vacuum in which these white power groups could operate; (v) the extent to which white supremacy was written into the law in Louisiana, and the extent to which this culminated in the violence of the Colfax massacre of 1873.


In this course, Professor Susan-Mary Grant (Newcastle University) explores the period in American history known as the Reconstruction Era, 1865-77. In the first module, we provide a brief introduction to what the Reconstruction Era was, when it started and ended, and whether or not it was a success. In the second module, we think about the roots of Reconstruction in Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, before turning in the third module to consider the support offered by the federal government to African-Americans in the years following the end of the Civil War. After that, in the fourth and fifth modules, we think about the resistance to the use efforts in the southern states, including the use of racial violence, before turning in the sixth and final module to think about the end of Reconstruction following the contested election of 1876 and the long-term legacy of its failure in the United States.


Professor Susan-Mary Grant is Professor of American History at Newcastle University. She is the author of North Over South: Northern Nationalism and American Identity in the Antebellum Era (2000), The War for a Nation: The American Civil War (2006) and editor of Legacy of Disunion: The Enduring Significance of the American Civil War (2003) and Themes of the American Civil War: The War Between the States (2010).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Grant, S. (2021, March 17). The Reconstruction Era, 1865-77 - Reconstruction and Racial Violence [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Grant, S. "The Reconstruction Era, 1865-77 – Reconstruction and Racial Violence." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Mar 2021,