The Future of Reconstruction

3dc2e-reconstructionOver at at the U.S. Intellectual History Blog, Robert Greene II reports on last week’s conference on the history and memory of the Reconstruction era at Columbia University. Speakers at the conference included Eric Foner, James Clyburn, Gregory Downs, and Kate Masur.

Here is a taste of Greene’s post:

This leads to my next point—the future of the public memory of the Reconstruction era. One of the panels I was able to make at the Reconstruction Symposium addressed this very question. Including National Park Service (NPS) Community Partner Specialist Michael Allen, historians Kate Masur and Gregory Downs, University of South Carolina Ph.D. candidate in history (with a focus on Public History) Jennifer Taylor, along with Dr. Foner, the panel talked about the present efforts of the National Park Service to find new sites to use for Reconstruction public memory. Already, the NPS has dealt with some of these issues in the commemoration of the American Civil War for the last five years. But Reconstruction will present some unique challenges in helping Americans to think about how that era has cast a long shadow over subsequent periods of American history. Intellectual historians will, of course, have a role to play in this as well. Ultimately, the Reconstruction era’s full legacy is one that won’t be revealed for some time—precisely because we are still living with that legacy.

Read the entire post here.