Between the Lines: W.E.B. Du Bois: Black Reconstruction

Nov 18, 2021, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Virtual via Zoom
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Public / Open To All
Event Description

About this event

Reconstruction was for Du Bois nothing less than a milestone in the course of human history, “the finest effort to achieve democracy for the working millions which this world had ever seen.” - Library of America

Join us for a virtual conversation with scholars Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Eric Foner, the editors of W.E.B. Du Bois: Black Reconstruction, moderated by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and recent MacArthur Fellow recipient. Black Reconstruction in America, is a seminal text originally published in 1935. It is Dubois's ground-breaking study of the role African Americans played during the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. These scholars will take us through the ideas of W. E. B. Du Bois and give consideration to the history of Black Reconstruction as a framework for repair and recovery of democracy in the present.

Presented in partnership with Library of America (LOA) and NYPL Center for Educators and Schools.

This program will be streamed on Livestream and simulcast to YouTube. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link.


Learn more about our community workshops: BLACK RECONSTRUCTION IN AMERICA Revisited taking place throughout the month of November, presented by NYPL Schomburg Center and Center for Educators and Schools.12 PM - 1:30 PM (Saturdays)


Readers everywhere who wish to order copies of the featured book can do so online at The Schomburg Shop. All proceeds benefit The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.


Eric Foner is the author of many award-winning books on the Civil War and Reconstruction, including The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution. He is DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous books, including Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow, and has produced, written, and hosted an array of documentary films for public television, including Finding Your Roots and The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes and speaks on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States. She is author Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, published in 2019 by University of North Carolina Press. She is a 2021 MacArthur Foundation Fellow. She has been appointed as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians by the Organization of American Historians. Taylor is Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.

The New York Public Library’s new Center for Educators and Schools makes it even easier for educators to use the library’s rich digital, circulating, and archival collections. Through this center, educators can access curricula, CTLE credit-bearing workshops, class trips, fellowships, and opportunities to gather and learn from each other virtually and in-person across all of NYPL's 92 locations.



About the Book

A definitive edition of the landmark book that forever changed our understanding of the Civil War’s aftermath and the legacy of racism in America

Upon its publication in 1935, W.E.B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction offered a radical new assessment of the post–Civil War era, a time when African American progress was met with a white supremacist backlash and, ultimately, the unjust social order of Jim Crow. Previously cast as a misguided, even villainous effort to impose an inverted and “unnatural” racial hierarchy on the defeated South. Reconstruction was for Du Bois nothing less than a milestone in the course of human history, “the finest effort to achieve democracy for the working millions which this world had ever seen.”

Du Bois identified the problem in the work of the dominant historians of his day: “the chief witness in Reconstruction, the emancipated slave himself, has been almost barred from court. His written Reconstruction record has been largely destroyed and nearly always neglected.” In setting the record straight, Du Bois produced what co-editor Eric Foner has called an “indispensable book . . . one of the landmarks of U.S. historical scholarship.”

Presented here in an authoritative, annotated edition, Black Reconstruction is joined for the first time with important writings that trace the evolution of Du Bois’s thinking about Reconstruction and its centrality in understanding the embattled course of democracy in America.


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Event Type
In Conversation
Event Category
AAS Recommended Events


Any individual, including visitors to campus, who requires an accommodation should contact Dionne Worthy ( at least one week in advance of the event.