There’s more national exposure for my new book Uncle George and Me as it goes on sale today, Sept. 5.
The Progressive, a magazine published in Madison, Wisconsin, just posted this excerpt on its website. The editors there liked my chapter on Reconstruction, the little-studied and little-understood era after the Civil War when biracial democracy briefly flourished in the defeated Confederate states.
As I detail in the excerpt, Reconstruction brought a tantalizing taste of political participation to freedmen across the South, including Mecklenburg County, Virginia, where my slave-owning ancestor found himself suddenly bereft of his human property and his former slaves drank in the intoxicating elixir of freedom.
Sadly, it was all over within a decade as the federal government lost interest in Reconstruction and Southern whites embarked on a century-long era of black disenfranchisement, Jim Crow segregation and racial violence.
As a result, millions of African-Americans – including many of the Sizemore freedmen – began voting with their feet, joining the Great Migration in hopes of a better life in the North.