reconstructed history

The United States of Racism, a broad timeline:

1776-1865: Racists with whips.

1865-1880: Racists mad at Black folks coming up too quick.

1880-1930: Racists with ropes wearing they mama bedsheets setting fires.

1930-1965: Racists only leaving the white side of town to make mixed babies and beat you for voting.

1965-1995: Racists moving to the suburbs and taking all socioeconomic resources with them.

1995-2017: Racists blending in with nice accidental racists who refuse to know any better.

2017: Racists in MAGA hats.



In 1865 and 1866, after the Civil War, Southern states passed “Black Codes” which were laws to restrict the freedom of Black people in the region. In the North these codes were viewed as a way for the South to get around the 13th amendment and to allow slavery to exist under a different name. The defining feature of the post-Civil war Black Codes were vagrancy laws which allowed for the newly freed Black population to be arrested and sentenced to hard labor.

Examples of Black Codes included, but were not limited to: no Black person (“freedman”) could own property or guns, Black people were prohibited from marrying white people, Black people were restricted in where they could live or rent, Black people could not join the militia, Black people needed permission to do work other than agricultural labor, domestic (service) work, or manual labor, no voting rights for Black people, Black people were not allowed to change jobs, and if a Black person had no job they could be arrested and forced to work for no pay, Black people could not testify against white people in a court of law, Black people were not allowed to assemble together without the presence and approval of a white person, it was illegal to teach Black people to read or write, and all public facilities were racially segregated, including cemeteries and all forms of transportation. (These discriminatory racial codes served as the model for many of America’s current unwritten social norms - as well as some written government policies - that are still in effect today, and not only in the South).

In 1866 Congress reacted to the Black Codes by placing the Confederate States under the rule of the American Union Army and as part of Reconstruction, passed laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 14th Amendment.

Unfortunately, due largely to The Compromise of 1877, Reconstruction would last in the “former” slave states of the South only until 1877, for eleven short years.


A video from Arika Okrent with a quick introduction to historical linguistics. For more on historical sound change in European languages, especially Germanic, I always enjoy this classic youtube series on Verner’s Law
‘Black America’: Amazon Alt-History Drama From Will Packer & Aaron McGruder Envisions Post-Reparations America
EXCLUSIVE: A century and a half after slavery was abolished in the U.S., the wounds left by one of the darkest periods in American history are far from healed, as evidenced by the controversy surro…
By Nellie Andreeva


Here’s the alternative to Confederate that we wanted. It was already in the works, with the premise closely under wraps, and with all the uproar over Confederate, the creators felt like now is the time to let the public know what they’ve been working on.


Part of my problem with HBO’s Confederate stemmed from exhaustion. I’m tired of white people writing alternative histories where someone is still oppressed. Like, do you not have enough avenues in the modern world to uphold white supremacy? You need to create an alternative narrative where you can uphold even more white supremacy?

White people are never writing an alternative history where they stayed in Europe and minded their own business. Or an alternative history where they didn’t squander the opportunity for a united country after the Civil War and erase all of the gains Black people made during Reconstruction. Or an alternative history where race actually ceased to exist – or was never codified into law in the first place!

So Black people now have an alternative history where we organized Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama into a sovereign nation called New Colonia and I’m here for it. And it’s being created with Amazon by Will Packer (Ride Along, Straight Outta Compton) and Aaron McGruder. Yes, The Boondocks Aaron McGruder.

This finna be extra dope.


A virtual recreation of various lost rooms and galleries at Versailles, many from the 17th century. Produced by students of the University of Cergy-Pontoise along with Nicholas Priniotakis and Michel Jordan. Part of VERSPERA, an ongoing research project focused on the palace of Versailles.


In February 2014 Tim McGrath was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma after complaining of severe jaw pain. An MRI revealed an egg sized tumour however Mr McGrath turned down surgery and spent the following 18 months seeking none surgical alternatives.

“At the end of May 2015 the tumour doubled in size and I had to have a tracheotomy fitted to enable me to breathe and a feeding tube so I could eat, because the tumour had invaded the space in my mouth. Heavy doses of radiation caused the tumour to start dying and shrink and parts started to fall off, eventually I got my mouth back and I could eat very thin pieces of food.“

In October 2015, Mr McGrath was admitted to hospital where he remained for almost seven weeks following the initial 30 hour operation to remove and then reconstruct his face. 

“Before the surgery they gave me the worst case scenario, they said I would have to lose my left eye and my left ear, but I didn’t’ believe that was going to be necessary. When I woke up I was in complete shock, as well as removing part of my face and bone structure, they had removed most of the muscle in my back, they had taken a rib, and they took part of my scapula and part of my shoulder too. This was so that they could rebuild my bone structure and the surrounding area however my body rejected the first attempts. Eventually I was discharged and the cavity was closed but over time the transplant kept shrinking and I experienced numerous infections.”

During his long journey towards recovery Mr McGrath made the decision to leave his original surgeon and was welcomed with open arms by Dr Chaiyasate. "I’ve had over 20 surgeries to date and five of those have been with Dr C, none of which have been rejected.”

Dr Chaiyasate will continue with the reconstruction of Mr McGrath’s face next winter which will further help his speech and will give him the ability to eat and drink again.

The Face of Cleopatra

Cleopatra VII is popularly remembered as the femme fatale of the first century BC played by great beauties like Vivien Leigh and Elizabeth Taylor. But what the real Cleopatra truly was in her life was a ruler. She was an incredibly intelligent polyglot (she spoke seven languages in addition to her native Egyptian and Greek), a savvy politician, and was noted to be witty and very charming. She was made of stern stuff, which she proved during her fight against her brother and his rival faction for the Egyptian throne. This fight ended, of course, with Cleopatra reigning as the last true ruler of Egypt.

There are not many reliable images of Cleopatra to give us a good idea of her facial features. A coin and bust believed to be her still survive, but they are likely somewhat idealized. Cleopatra was a member of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, a Greek dynasty which took up the rulership of Egypt after Alexander the Great. The Ptolemies practiced the old Egyptian royal tradition of sibling marriage. This means that there was not much diversity in Cleopatra’s blood, so aside from a touch of Persian she was thoroughly Greek. I based this drawing of Cleopatra on both the coin and bust bearing her image. It may be close to her true face, or it may not be. But perhaps after a long day of Pharaoh-ing Cleopatra VII looked a little like this.     

On this day in 1937, Margaret Mitchell wins Pulitzer Prize for “Gone With the Wind”.

Margaret Mitchell was born on November 8, 1900, in Atlanta, Georgia, into an Irish-Catholic family. At an early age, even before she could write, Mitchell loved to make up stories, and she would later write her own adventure books, crafting their covers out of cardboard. She wrote hundreds of books as a child, but her literary endeavors weren’t limited to novels and stories: At the private Woodberry School, Mitchell took her creativity in new directions, directing and acting in plays she wrote.

In 1918, Mitchell enrolled at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Four months later, tragedy would strike when Mitchell’s mother died of influenza. Mitchell finished out her freshman year at Smith and then returned to Atlanta to prepare for the upcoming debutante season, during which she met Berrien Kinnard Upshaw. The couple was married in 1922, but it ended abruptly four months later when Upshaw left for the Midwest and never returned.

The same year she was married, Mitchell landed a job with the Atlanta Journal Sunday magazine, where she ended up writing nearly 130 articles. Mitchell would get married a second time during this period, wedding John Robert Marsh in 1925. As seemed to be the case in Mitchell’s life, though, yet another good thing was to come to an end too quickly, as her journalist career ended in 1926 due to complications from a broken ankle. With her broken ankle keeping Mitchell off her feet, however, in 1926 she began writing Gone With the Wind. Perched at an old sewing table, and writing the last chapter first and the other chapters randomly, she finished most of the book by 1929. A romantic novel about the Civil War and Reconstruction, Gone With the Wind is told from a Southern point of view, informed by Mitchell’s family and steeped in the history of the South and the tragedy of the war.

In July 1935, New York publisher Macmillan offered her a $500 advance and 10 percent royalty payments. Mitchell set to finalizing the manuscript, changing characters names (Scarlett was Pansy in earlier drafts), cutting and rearranging chapters and finally naming the book Gone With the Wind, a phrase from “Cynara!, a favorite Ernest Dowson poem. Gone With the Wind was published in 1936 to huge success and took home the 1937 Pulitzer. Mitchell became an overnight celebrity, and the landmark film based on her novel came out just three years later and went on to become a classic (winning eight Oscars and two special Oscars ).

During World War II (1941-45), Mitchell had no time to write, as she worked for the American Red Cross. And on August 11, 1949, she was struck by a car while crossing a street and died five days later. Mitchell was inducted into Georgia Women of Achievement in 1994 and into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2000. Gone With the Wind was her only novel.

Sources: and

The Civil War is remembered in American literature by works such as The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, March by Geraldine Brooks, and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. But the years following the war, Reconstruction, also offer a rich backdrop that have informed some of the greatest art in the country’s canon. Books set in Reconstruction Era America ask how to rebuild after atrocity, how to love after war, and how to move toward a more perfect union. Check out some of our favorites.