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The Library will be closed Saturday, June 19th for Juneteenth

Memorial Hall Library

Juneteenth

Although the American Civil War is generally considered to have ended on June 2, 1865, slavery was not completely abolished in the United States until June 19th, 1865. This date marked the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas. (The 1863 Emancipation Proclamation only ended slavery in certain Confederate territories; it did not represent a complete abolition of slavery.) June 19th, known as Juneteenth, is a holiday to commemorate the ending of slavery and celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans. Although Juneteenth is not currently a national holiday, it is observed in 45 states, including Massachusetts.

In honor of Juneteeth, here are some books about American Reconstruction and its legacy.

 

Capitol men : the epic story of Reconstruction through the lives of the first Black congressmen
Capitol men : the epic story of Reconstruction through the lives of the first Black congressmen
by Philip Dray

A compelling history of the Reconstruction era is viewed from the perspective of America's first black members of Congress and their key role in promoting such reforms as public education for all children, equal rights, and protection from Klan violence in the wake of the Civil War, profiling such figures as Robert Smalls, Robert Brown Elliott, and P. B. S. PInchback.
Stony the road : Reconstruction, white supremacy, and the rise of Jim Crow
Stony the road : Reconstruction, white supremacy, and the rise of Jim Crow
by Henry Louis Gates

The NAACP Image Award-winning creator of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross chronicles America's post-Civil War struggle for racial equality and the violent counterrevolution that resubjugated black Americans throughout the 20th century.
Envisioning emancipation : Black Americans and the end of slavery
Envisioning emancipation : Black Americans and the end of slavery
by Deborah Willis

Envisioning Emancipation illustrates what freedom looked like for black Americans in the Civil War era. From photos of the enslaved on plantations and African American soldiers and camp workers in the Union Army to Juneteenth celebrations, slave reunions, and portraits of black families and workers in the American South, the images in this book challenge perceptions of slavery. They show not only what the subjects emphasized about themselves but also the ways Americans of all colors and genders opposed slavery and marked its end. Filled with powerful images of lives too often ignored or erased from historical records, Envisioning Emancipation provides a new perspective on American culture.
Portraits of a people : picturing African Americans in the nineteenth century
Portraits of a people : picturing African Americans in the nineteenth century
by Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw

From the American Revolution through the Civil War and on into the Gilded Age, American artists created dynamic images of black sitters. Many of these portraits illuminate the search for a self-possessed identity as well as cultural stereotypes and practices. Portraits of a People looks critically at images made of and by African Americans. They range from a 1773 engraving of the African-born poet Phillis Wheatley purportedly drawn by her friend, the slave Scipio Moorhead, to an 1897 portrait of the artist's mother painted by the expatriate Henry O. Tanner while visiting from Paris.
The strange career of William Ellis : the Texas slave who became a Mexican millionaire
The strange career of William Ellis : the Texas slave who became a Mexican millionaire
by Karl Jacoby

A portrait of mysterious Manhattan entrepreneur Guillermo Eliseo traces his secret past as a cotton plantation slave from southern Texas who capitalized on the Spanish he learned along the Mexican border to reinvent himself as a wealthy Hispanic political insider who successfully crossed color lines and outmaneuvered racial scandals.
Picturing Frederick Douglass : an illustrated biography of the nineteenth century's most photographed American
Picturing Frederick Douglass : an illustrated biography of the nineteenth century's most photographed American
by John Stauffer

Pays tribute to the life and legacy of the ex-slave turned leading abolitionist, orator and writer through historic photographs and artwork.
Forever free : the story of emancipation and Reconstruction
Forever free : the story of emancipation and Reconstruction
by Eric Foner

Analyzes the post-Civil War era of Emancipation and Reconstruction with an emphasis on discovering the larger political and cultural meaning for contemporary America of the lives of the newly freed slaves and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.
The thin light of freedom : the Civil War and emancipation in the heart of America
The thin light of freedom : the Civil War and emancipation in the heart of America
by Edward L. Ayers

A ground-level narrative by the award-winning author of In the Presence of Mine Enemies traces the progress of emancipation during the American Civil War, drawing on personal correspondences to document conflicts in Virginia's Great Valley and the pivotal contributions of free black soldiers who served with the U.S. Colored Troops.
The long emancipation : the demise of slavery in the United States
The long emancipation : the demise of slavery in the United States
by Ira Berlin

Perhaps no event in American history arouses more impassioned debate than the abolition of slavery. Answers to basic questions about who ended slavery, how, and why remain fiercely contested more than a century and a half after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. In The Long Emancipation, Ira Berlin draws upon decades of study to offer a framework for understanding slavery's demise in the United States. Freedom was not achieved in a moment, and emancipation was not an occasion but a near-century-long process--a shifting but persistent struggle that involved thousands of men and women.
Emancipation Proclamation : Lincoln and the dawn of liberty
Emancipation Proclamation : Lincoln and the dawn of liberty
by Tonya Bolden

A sesquicentennial anniversary commemorative introduction to the Emancipation Proclamation provides excerpts from historical sources, reproductions of archival images and lesser-known facts that challenge popular beliefs.
The accident of color : a story of race in Reconstruction
The accident of color : a story of race in Reconstruction
by Daniel Brook

The award-winning author of A History of Future Cities documents how the citizenship privileges of mixed-race urbanites in 19th-century New Orleans and Charleston were swept away by the political backlashes of the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras.
American radicals : how nineteenth-century protest shaped the nation
American radicals : how nineteenth-century protest shaped the nation
by Holly Jackson

A history of 19th-century activists—socialists and free-lovers, abolitionists and vigilantes—looks at the social revolution they sparked in the turbulent Civil War era. Illustrations.
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