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Civil War and Reconstruction

In light of the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, emerging and contending views of both the war and of Reconstruction are surfacing, and the Web is providing spaces for the digital rewriting of history. This wiki, authored by scholar Alisea Williams McLeod, author of Last Road to Freedom, and by undergraduate and graduate students, focuses on the African American transition to freedom. This site provides sections on emancipation, contraband camps, early black entrepreneurs, black farmers, new black towns and villages, the United States Colored Troops (USCT), Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Union Army, the Navy, wartime reformers and prewar abolitionists including Union chaplains and camp superintendents, labor conditions, Southern slaveholders, Southern plantations, and Reconstruction leaders. In addition to these formal, structural, entities, contributors to this wiki have investigated black cultural practices that may in some cases have had their roots in the slave experience, if not in Africa. Such traditions or systems include kinship networks, marriage, naming practices, culinary practices, trades, African American cosmology, religion, art and music.

A Sense of Agency

The memory of former slave Louis Lucas complicates a prevailing view of African African men, women, and children during the Civil War era as passive, at the mercy of the Union Army, innocently loyal to their masters, and generally confounded by the war's disruption of domestic order on the South. Lucus recalled that on the day that the Yankees retreated into Pine Bluff, having been outmaneuvered by Confederate forces upon whom they had planned an attack