One of our preeminent historians of race and democracy argues that the period since 2008 has marked nothing less than America’s Third Reconstruction

In The Third Reconstruction, distinguished historian Peniel E. Joseph offers a powerful and personal new interpretation of recent history. The racial reckoning that unfolded in 2020, he argues, marked the climax of a Third Reconstruction: a new struggle for citizenship and dignity for Black Americans, just as momentous as the movements that arose after the Civil War and during the civil rights era. Joseph draws revealing connections and insights across centuries as he traces this Third Reconstruction from the election of Barack Obama to the rise of Black Lives Matter to the failed assault on the Capitol.

America’s first and second Reconstructions fell tragically short of their grand aims. Our Third Reconstruction offers a new chance to achieve Black dignity and citizenship at last—an opportunity to choose hope over fear.

Praise

“In The Third Reconstruction, renowned historian Peniel Joseph expertly draws on his remarkable breadth of knowledge to tell a powerful and interwoven story about three watershed moments in American history. Brilliantly written and elegantly argued, this book is a gift to all Americans. It offers an honest and compelling account of how change happens, and it forces us all to consider how we might work together to win the fight for racial justice.”—Keisha N. Blain, coeditor of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller Four Hundred Souls and award-winning author of Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America
“In this searching, often searing, account of our recent past and of our still-unfolding present, Peniel E. Joseph writes in the tradition of Du Bois and of Baldwin as he seeks to delineate how tragedy might give way to true justice. Personal and political, human and historical, Joseph’s book is urgent, important, and illuminating.”—Jon Meacham, author of His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope
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