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Virtual Event: The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War

March 11, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore and the National Civil War Museum are honored to welcome acclaimed historians Van Gosse and Richard Blackett as they discuss Gosse's new work, The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War. In the book, Gosse delivers a stunning feat of research that enlivens our understanding of both black history and U.S. political history.

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the National Civil War Museum, use discount code CIVILWAR20 at checkout for 20% off the book.

This virtual event is free and open to the public. To register via Zoom Click Here
To purchase a copy of the book: Follow this link

About the Book:
It may be difficult to imagine that consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority of African Americans remained in bondage. Yet free black men, many of them escaped slaves, steadily increased their influence in electoral politics over the course of the early American republic. Despite efforts to disfranchise them, black men voted across much of the North, sometimes in numbers sufficient to swing elections. In this meticulously-researched book, Van Gosse offers a sweeping reappraisal of the formative era of American democracy from the Constitution's ratification through Abraham Lincoln's election, chronicling the rise of an organized, visible black politics focused on the quest for citizenship, the vote, and power within the free states.

Full of untold stories and thorough examinations of political battles, this book traces the First Reconstruction of black political activism following emancipation in the North. From Portland, Maine, and New Bedford, Massachusetts to Brooklyn and Cleveland, black men operated as voting blocs, denouncing the notion that skin color could define citizenship.

About the Speakers:
Van Gosse is a professor of history at Franklin and Marshall College.

Richard J. M. Blackett is the Andrew Jackson Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He is past President of the Association of Caribbean Historians, Associated Editor and Acting Editor of the Journal of American History, and editor of the Indiana Magazine of History. He is the author of several books, including Building an Antislavery Wall: Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement, 1830–1860 (2002), Divided Hearts: Britain and the American Civil War (2000), and Making Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the Politics of Slavery (2013).


March 11, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm