Michael A. Ross speaks to the Civil War Round Table of the District of Columbia about "Reconstruction and American Memory"  on February 9, 2016, at the Fort McNair Officers' Club in Washington D.C.

Questions and answers follow the presentation.

A copy of the PowerPoint to his presentation is available at http://files.cwrtdc.org/RossPP2-9-2016.pdf

TOPIC: 
The Reconstruction
& American Memory
About The Topic:
It is often said that the South “lost the war, but won the peace.”  One way it did so was by winning the fight over how Reconstruction Era was remembered. In books, poems, songs, and films like Birth of a Nation and Gone With the Wind, the white South convinced many Americans that Reconstruction (the post-war effort by the federal government to bring a new social, political, and economic order to the states of the old Confederacy) was a “tragic era” when “carpetbaggers,” “scalawags,” and “ignorant” former slaves corruptly used power for personal gain.  How and when did the South’s version of events become the defining one? When and why did this change? And why does the contested memory of Reconstruction still haunt America today? 

In his talk, Michael Ross answers these questions and discusses how the nation’s historical memory of Reconstruction has shaped our understanding of the meaning of the Civil War itself.


About the Speaker: 
Michael Ross is a specialist in American Constitutional History, U.S. Nineteenth Century History, and the Civil War and Reconstruction Eras. He is currently a Professor of History at the University of Maryland at College Park where he specializes in the Civil War Era and U.S. Legal History. 

He is the author of two prize-winning books: Justice of Shattered Dreams: Samuel Freeman Miller and Supreme Court during the Civil War Era (LSU Press 2003) and The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era (Oxford University Press, Fall 2014).  His first book is a biography of one of the most important justices on the post-bellum Supreme Court. It won the George Tyler Moore Civil War Center's Seaborg Award for Civil War Non-Fiction and the Association of American Jesuit College and Universities Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award. 

His second book is the story of a sensational 1870 trial that riveted the South during one of the most pivotal moments in the history of U.S. race relations. It received favorable reviews in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other periodicals, was a selection of the History Book Club, and won the 2014 Kemper Williams Prize and the 2014 New Orleans Public Library Foundation Choice Award for Non-Fiction. 

Professor Ross has also written numerous articles in academic journals, four of which have won “best article” prizes, including the Southern Historical Association's Fletcher M. Green and Charles Ramsdell Award. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Supreme Court History and has served as historical advisor to the United States Mint.  Professor Ross has twice delivered Silverman lectures at the United States Supreme Court.

Before joining the Maryland faculty, Professor Ross taught at Loyola University in New Orleans for ten years. He holds a law degree from Duke University and earned a Ph.D. in History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For more information about Professor Ross, visit http://history.umd.edu/users/maross  
 
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