Books: Non-Fiction

Make Good the Promises: Reclaiming Reconstruction and Its Legacies

Book - Non-fiction. Edited by Kinshasha Holman Conwill and Paul Gardullo. 224 pp. 2021. Essays on the history and legacy of Reconstruction, a companion to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture exhibit.
Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876
Themes: Reconstruction

Make Good the Promises: Reclaiming Reconstruction and Its Legacies explores five distinct yet intertwined legacies of Reconstruction — Liberation, Violence, Repair, Place, and Belief — to reveal their lasting impact on modern society. It is the story of Frederick Douglass, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Hiram Revels, Ida B. Wells, and scores of other Black men and women who reshaped a nation — and of the persistence of white supremacy and the perpetuation of the injustices of slavery continued by other means and codified in state and federal laws.

With contributions by Kidada Williams, Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Katherine Franke, Mary Elliott, Thavolia Glymph, and more leading scholars, and illustrated with 80 images from the exhibition. [Description by the publisher.]

The book is a companion volume to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture exhibit on Reconstruction.

With a foreword by Eric Foner and a preface by Spencer Crew.

The truly impressive essays and gorgeous illustrations collected here offer a powerful and unflinching look at a critical period of our history. Engaging directly with a history of what W. E. B. Du Bois called ‘propaganda’ about this period, Make Good the Promises helps us see that we cannot understand the present without grappling with this violent, transformative time. This beautiful collection reveals why Reconstruction belongs at the center of Black history and, indeed, all of American history. — Kate Masur, Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction

ISBN: 9780063160644 | Amistad

Watch the NMAAHC program about the book and exhibit: Historically Speaking: Make Good The Promises: Reclaiming Reconstruction And Its Legacies (broadcast on 10/26/2021)

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