“I feel like we were not taught enough about the reconstruction era and how during this period black individuals were elected to congress and started to gain a voice. I remember it as being much more focused on 'martial law was enforced and the north punished the south for rebelling.’ ”
~ Kimberly, 31
What the Lost Cause said.
The authors of the Lost Cause described Reconstruction as a monumentally disastrous experiment in racial equality and two-party government.
The Lost Cause regarded the period after the war as a confirmation of the northern deceit, hypocrisy, and greed that they believed had caused Black people to stray from loyalty to Southern White people and aspire to political and social equality.
It celebrated the concerted political and extra-legal efforts to end this period and to restore something akin to antebellum race relations.
How did that change?
As the Civil Rights movement attained widespread support, Americans began to describe it as the Second Reconstruction, and to look back at the First Reconstruction as primarily a failed effort to ensure civil rights for Black people.