HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre,…
Loading...

The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the…

by Charles Lane

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
922131,245 (4.31)12
None

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 12 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
"The Day Freedom Died" is both one of the most gripping books I've read, and one of the hardest to read. That's because it's the story of a very disturbing event in history - the Colfax Massacre, the brutal murder of dozens of blacks in rural Louisiana - and the attempts to prosecute the killers.

Charles Lane clearly did tremendous research for this book, and it pays off - the book successfully recounts both the events and their place in the events of the time. Lane can write as well, so the scholarship is woven into the story of what happened and the consequences of both the massacre and the court decisions overturning the few convictions secured. The events can make it hard to read at points; but that perhaps makes it all the more important.

Lane isn't quite as good as discussing the legal issues that were decided in Cruickshank - the consequences of the crippling of federal efforts to prosecute murder and intimidation by white thugs is clear, but he never covers in depth the technical validity of the decision. But this is a minor issue.

Reconstruction is often thought of a time of "carpetbag misrule", but "The Day Freedom Dies" shines a rather disturbing light on the time. A stunning read; and one that I'd recommend to anyone. ( )
  agis | Aug 14, 2008 |
The Day Freedom Died is and isn't an easy book to read. On the one hand, the story of conflict in Louisiana during the Reconstruction period following the US Civil War is compellingly told. On the other hand, the story centers around the killing of some 65 blacks in Grant Parish, Louisiana, as part of the conflict over whether the more liberal Republicans or the mostly white supremacist Democrats would control the state government. It was a bloody time and Lane doesn't pull any punches, so the book is horrifying in spots.

The conflict originated in how the US government would bring formerly Confederate states back into the Union after the Civil War and how these states would integrate former slaves into society. Initially, at least, Republicans from the North and new freedmen were elected into governorships and state legislatures, while former Confederates were removed from power. As these (mostly) Democrats fought back politically, more violent means were also used, among other objectives, to affect elections. In Grant Parish, this resulted in two full slates of candidates being confirmed simultaneously for parish offices. When the black and Northern white Republicans in the parish asserted what appears to be their legal right to the offices by occupying the local courthouse, the supremacist whites raised an army of more than a hundred to take back what they viewed as their legal appointments. The result was more than 60 blacks dead and 2 or 3 whites from the supremacist group dead in what appears to have been a very unequal fight.

But the story doesn't end there. The US District Attorney in New Orleans (a Republican appointed by President Grant) wanted to prosecute at least the leaders of the supremacist faction under laws enacted by Congress to allow federal courts to enforce the 13-15th amendments to the Constitution. After significant legal drama, this case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the case was thrown out and the ability to enforce the amendments was gutted except for equal protection considerations. This decision effectively gutted the Reconstruction and put back in place many of the post-war racial policies that lasted until the 1960s and the civil rights movement.

All in all, this was a fascinating book, highly recommended. ( )
1 vote drneutron | Jul 21, 2008 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805083421, Hardcover)

The untold story of the slaying of a Southern town’s ex-slaves and a white lawyer’s historic battle to bring the perpretators to justice
 
Following the Civil War, Colfax, Louisiana, was a town, like many, where African Americans and whites mingled uneasily. But on April 13, 1873, a small army of white ex–Confederate soldiers, enraged after attempts by freedmen to assert their new rights, killed more than sixty African Americans who had occupied a courthouse. With skill and tenacity, The Washington Post’s Charles Lane transforms this nearly forgotten incident into a riveting historical saga.
 
Seeking justice for the slain, one brave U.S. attorney, James Beckwith, risked his life and career to investigate and punish the perpetrators—but they all went free. What followed was a series of courtroom dramas that culminated at the Supreme Court, where the justices’ verdict compromised the victories of the Civil War and left Southern blacks at the mercy of violent whites for generations. The Day Freedom Died is an electrifying piece of historical detective work that captures a gallery of characters from presidents to townspeople, and re-creates the bloody days of Reconstruction, when the often brutal struggle for equality moved from the battlefield into communities across the nation.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:11 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Following the Civil War, Colfax, Louisiana, was a town, like many, where Negroes and whites mingled uneasily. But on April 13, 1873, a small army of white ex-Confederate soldiers, enraged after attempts by freedmen to assert their new rights, killed more than sixty Negroes who had occupied a courthouse. Now, journalist Charles Lane transforms this nearly forgotten incident into a historical saga. Seeking justice for the slain, one brave U.S. attorney, James Beckwith, risked his life and career to investigate and punish the perpetrators--but they all went free. What followed was a series of courtroom dramas that culminated at the Supreme Court, where the verdict compromised the victories of the Civil War and left Southern blacks at the mercy of violent whites for generations.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
29 wanted1 pay4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.31)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5 2
4 2
4.5 1
5 3

Audible.com

An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 93,498,951 books! | Top bar: Always visible