The Third Reconstruction: America’s Struggle for Racial Justice in the Twenty-First Century

Peniel E. Joseph

America’s Reconstruction era set off enduring battles between supporters of multiracial democracy and advocates of white supremacy. A century later, America’s Second Reconstruction produced a fragile consensus that the quest for Black citizenship and dignity was a political and moral good. But the struggle over the true meaning of American democracy has burst back into the open, with the racial and political reckoning of 2020 marking the climax of America’s third era of Reconstruction.

The Third Reconstruction offers an essential new interpretation of the history shaping today’s struggles. Drawing connection across centuries and centering Black women’s activism and leadership, the book illuminates the election of Barack Obama, the white backlash of Donald Trump, and the transformative leadership of Black Lives Matter.

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