THE ANGRY SCAR by Hodding Carter


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Another volume in the excellent Mainstream of America series, this deals with what is again a live issue in the American scene, the ten years associated in the minds of the South, both black and white, with Reconstruction. Hodding Carter does not pretend to have written an original analysis; he has succeeded admirably in assessing and balancing the varied viewpoints of the historians who have dealt exhaustively with the period. And he presents his facts in a way to make only too evident the reasons for the survival today of the bitterness engendered then. He starts with Lincoln's speech expanding his inaugural address statements of the goal of reconstruction -- and from there goes on to a thoughtful study of the elements of resentment, North and South, and the seeds of discord that his death nurtured. The enactment of the Black Codes in the South, the unbalanced expansion of the role of the Freedman's Bureau, the encroachment of the civil rights of Southern whites, the growth of violence --and the men who became the symbols:- Thad Stevens, Ben Butler, Charles Sumner. Then the process of ratification of the 14th amendment, now once more a red flag -- and the conflict internal, external, at high level and low. Military occupancy, radical control, the burgeoning of the carpet-baggers and the scalawags, the disillusionment of the liberals, the failure of the experiment in education- and the reasons behind each element of the total picture -- all merge into a grim picture which provides the foundations of today's concepts. There were men- and women- who contributed to the rebirth of the South- but they are forgotten when balanced against those who harmed her. Jim Crowism was born and nurtured. A distinct cultural pattern was fixed upon the South. The achievements of Reconstruction- and they were many-were balanced out by the failures. This is a useful book for the students of the issues confronting us today. It should be read by North and South, unpalatable to both as much of it will be.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1958
Publisher: Doubleday