Farewell to the Bloody Shirt: Northern Republicans & the Southern Negro, 1877-1893

Farewell to the Bloody Shirt: Northern Republicans & the Southern Negro, 1877-1893

Farewell to the Bloody Shirt: Northern Republicans & the Southern Negro, 1877-1893

Farewell to the Bloody Shirt: Northern Republicans & the Southern Negro, 1877-1893

Excerpt

The present racial crisis in the United States had its origins in the years following the Civil War. One of the Northern objectives in that conflict had been to secure the freedom of the Negro, and, in the minds of many Republican Radicals, it had the additional purpose of insuring his equality before the law. During the Reconstruction period there were hopeful beginnings in the ex-Confederate states which looked toward making the former slave a first-class citizen.

The years following the end of Radical Reconstruction in the South, however, marked an unhappy reversion in Southern attitudes toward the Negro. Though not completely disfranchised until the 1890's, the Negro voter, as Professor C. Vann Woodward has pointed out, was "often coerced, defrauded, or intimidated." He was relegated to a permanent place of economic inferiority. Lynching rose to new, staggering heights. Everywhere in the South this period was marked by "race conflict and violence, brutality and exploitation."

Professor Stanley P. Hirshson's book is a fine scholarly study of the political background of these developments. It is not, except incidentally, a tract for our times. Though obviously hostile to racial discrimination, Dr. Hirshson is less concerned . . .

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