Black Reconstruction makes powerful arguments about the critical roles black Americans played in forcing emancipation during the Civil War and in the reconstruction of southern society afterward that resonate much more with recent scholarship on the era than with that of his 1930s contemporaries. Given that Du Bois’s argument goes so thoroughly against the grain of the scholarship of his day and yet lacks references to any alternative archival or other sources to support his startling insights, the author speculates that his earlier sociological and literary endeavors were the likely sources for these arguments, especially his fieldwork in Lowndes County, Alabama, and the novel, The Quest of the Silver Fleece, that was clearly influenced by that experience.

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