Thinking About The Reconstruction Era
Over the last 7 years, I have been involved with Beaufort and the Low Country of South Carolina in multiple ways. I returned to South Carolina as the Dean of Education at the University of South Carolina and found the need to be involved in the community to be of great benefit for the university, the college, and myself. Currently, I am the Executive Director for the Center of Innovation in Higher Education and Professor of Educational Leadership and Policies at U.S.C.
From my involvement and efforts, there was one project that seemed immensely important to the Mayor of Beaufort, South Carolina, and local leaders that I could not just walk away from and that was the initiatives and activities around the Reconstruction Era and Reconstruction Monument. Therefore, I formed friendships with a number of individuals, who were local leaders and national scholars, including Mayor Keyserling of the City of Beaufort to offer whatever help I could in their efforts to bring the history of this era to life. By committing myself to this effort, I discovered a wealth of history, unfamiliar history to most individuals, that could be classified as forgotten, untold, or simple overlooked. History about unique individual stories, special places and markers, and ignored contributions of groups of ordinary people who made extraordinary gains. I continue to read and discover new stories everyday that adds to my motivation to continue to learn and discover all that I can from the Reconstruction Era. Of course I learned about the Reconstruction Era in elementary and secondary education, from family members, and religious organizations, but no one really discussed the issue with a strong sense of meaning or purpose in the schools. The Reconstruction Era was not covered with details that would bring its importance to life, especially its important for South Carolina history. This is not to say my teachers were not competent, they were outstanding, both my black and white history teachers; yet, I long to ask these questions of individuals on a daily basis:
1. What do you know about the Reconstruction Era?
2. Where did you learn about the Reconstruction Era? (At School, home, library, television, etc.)
3. Who taught you about the Reconstruction Era? (teachers, preacher, parents, relatives, text, etc.)
4. Did you learn about the Reconstruction Era in secondary classrooms?
5. Who are considered heroes from the Reconstruction Era?
6. Who do you consider villains from this era?
7. What is the most memorable fact(s) or story that you remember about this era?
8. If you are a teacher or faculty member, please share how you teach or share Reconstruction stories or facts with you pupils.
Please feel free to answer any of the questions or just write a brief story about what you know and how you know what you know about Reconstruction. I would great appreciate any construction opinions or interpretation about the Reconstruction Era Story.