Francis Lewis Cardozo: An Unsung Hero of Reconstruction

Pamela Reese Smith

This book is filled with eye-opening verified facts that will leave you wondering why you have never heard of Frances Lewis Cardozo. It provides a poignant look into the life and times of this rarely spoken of African American Hero who was the first Black man to hold statewide office in U.S. History when he was elected Secretary of State of South Carolina in 1868, just a few years after the American Civil War ended.

Cardozo was not only a politician but also a Presbyterian minister and educator who pioneered the creation of public education for Black children in America. This book enlivens and enriches the standard often-sparse curriculum teaching on the Reconstruction Era that followed the American Civil War. It also highlights a cadre of other African-American politicians from South Carolina elected to the United States House of Representatives. Not everyone was happy about the achievements of Cardozo and his political contemporaries or the new found freedoms and enthusiasm the formerly enslaved had for exercising their right to vote. Especially, not the so-called “Redeemers”, racist politicians and militia, who were hellbent on re-asserting white supremacy through the de facto disenfranchisement of African American men by any means necessary, up to and including violence, threats of violence, intimidation and trumped-up criminal charges.

You will read about the lengths to which these men went to neutralize and dismantle the legacy of Cardozo and other Black heroes of Reconstruction. The truth about the extraordinary life of Francis Lewis Cardozo and his enduring contributions to the lives of African Americans is resurrected in this book.

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