Secondary Sources

The literature on Reconstruction is vast.  Historians have been researching and writing on this era for generations. Rather than offer an exhaustive bibliography of this literature, the Memphis Massacre Project aims to select titles that reflect current thinking on Reconstruction's history and its meanings, and titles that might appeal to more advanced middle and high school students. 

Readings on the Memphis Massacre

Stephen V. Ash, A Massacre in Memphis: The Race Riot that Shook the Nation One Year after the Civil War (2013).  This book focuses exclusively on the events that swept Memphis in May 1866.  Ash offers a detailed explanation of how the massacre unfolded and how the different actors within the city and beyond responded to the worst outbreak of violence since the end of the Civil War.

Hannah Rosen, Terror in the Heart of Freedom:Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South (2009).  This book explores the gendered dimension Reconstruction-era debates over who should be a citizen and what freedom should mean. Rosen opens her book with a richly-detailed discussion of the Memphis Massacre and the women who were raped.


Readings on Reconstruction

Robert K. Sutton and John A Latschar, eds., The Reconstruction Era: Official National Park Service Handbook (2016). This slim volume includes twelve brief essays, an introduction, and a conclusion by leading historians of the Reconstruction era. Each essay touches on a different facet of Reconstruction history, including Reconstruction's beginnings during the Civil War, its impact on Constitutional law, and the long-term legacies of racial violence.