Exploration of African American contributions to the state of Florida during the era of Reconstruction
Despite their shortcomings, “radical” politicians, including African Americans, made worthy contributions to the state of Florida during the era of Reconstruction. Joe Richardson disputes many of the misconceptions about the state’s debt and corruption by exploring how some African American politicians were quite capable and learned their duties quickly. Even more remarkable was the rapidity with which the unlettered ex-slaves absorbed education and adjusted to their status as free men. African Americans in the Reconstruction of Florida delves into the problems encountered by the freed men and traces their successes and failures during the first decade after emancipation.
“A valuable [and] thorough mining of available sources . . . a very inclusive account of . . . life has been attempted, incorporating reactions to emancipation, early adjustments to freedom, health, family life, legal status and legal injustice, occupations, landownership and farm labor arrangements, religion, politics, education, and violence. A generous amount of the general economic and political history of Florida Reconstruction is interwoven. . . . Richardson has researched widely and assiduously.”
—Journal of American History