Books & Media

Berlin, Ira, Barbara J. Fields, Steven F. Miller, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowland, eds., Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War. New York: New Press.
This book includes numerous primary sources that look at slavery around the time of emancipation.

Carter, Dan T. When the War Was Over: The Failure of Self-Reconstruction in the South, 1865-1867. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985.
A general account of Presidential Reconstruction and the social changes in the South immediately after the war’s end.

Foner, Eric. A Short History of Reconstruction. New York: Harper & Row, 1990.
An examination of many themes of Reconstruction, including African Americans as agents of change during Reconstruction, the ways that the South was changed during the period, and the evolution of racial attitudes and patterns.

Hakim, Joy. A History of US: Reconstructing America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
An excellent supplementary reading resource for students.

Winik, Jay. April 1865: The Month That Saved America. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001.
Winik’s account includes a thorough examination of the circumstances around Lincoln’s assassination, and interesting biographical information about Andrew Johnson.

A Library of Congress on-line exhibit entitled “The African-American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship”, that includes many primary sources (especially images) about African-Americans during Reconstruction.
A PBS American Experience website that includes video clips, primary sources, links to other resources, historians’ perspectives about Reconstruction, and a Reconstruction timeline.
“America’s Reconstruction: People and Politics after the Civil War.” This digital history exhibit, with text written by Eric Foner, has extensive primary and secondary sources on thematic elements of Reconstruction.
This University of Houston Digital History online textbook includes excellent secondary sources that provide a clear understanding of the Reconstruction period.
The website for the National Archives includes document analysis worksheets as well as numerous primary sources.
Valley of the Shadow: an excellent compilation of primary resources for two communities during the Civil War. Includes Freedmen’s Bureau records, letters, diaries, newspapers, images, and maps.
A collection of documents and links to documents relating to the work of the Freedmen’s Bureau, including labor contracts and marriage certificates.
A Library of Congress on-line exhibit entitled, “With an Even Hand: Brown v. Board at 50”. The section entitled “A Century of Racial Segregation” is helpful for understanding the aftermath of Reconstruction.
A text version of a first-person account of sharecropping after the Civil War.
Materials from Harper’s Weekly magazine that illustrate attitudes toward African-Americans during the late 19th century.
A lesson plan that is part of the Library of Congress’s Learning Page. The lesson plan is geared toward high-school students, but could be adapted for middle school students to use some of the resources.