The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction

The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction

by Charles Lane

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Overview

The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction by Charles Lane

The untold story of the slaying of a Southern town's ex-slaves and a white lawyer's historic battle to bring the perpretators to justice

Following the Civil War, Colfax, Louisiana, was a town, like many, where African Americans and whites mingled uneasily. But on April 13, 1873, a small army of white ex–Confederate soldiers, enraged after attempts by freedmen to assert their new rights, killed more than sixty African Americans who had occupied a courthouse. With skill and tenacity, The Washington Post's Charles Lane transforms this nearly forgotten incident into a riveting historical saga.

Seeking justice for the slain, one brave U.S. attorney, James Beckwith, risked his life and career to investigate and punish the perpetrators—but they all went free. What followed was a series of courtroom dramas that culminated at the Supreme Court, where the justices' verdict compromised the victories of the Civil War and left Southern blacks at the mercy of violent whites for generations. The Day Freedom Died is an electrifying piece of historical detective work that captures a gallery of characters from presidents to townspeople, and re-creates the bloody days of Reconstruction, when the often brutal struggle for equality moved from the battlefield into communities across the nation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429936781
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/04/2008
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 739,493
File size: 555 KB

About the Author

Charles Lane discovered the Colfax Massacre case while covering the Supreme Court for The Washington Post. His journalism career has taken him from Washington to Tokyo, Berlin to Bosnia, Havana to Johannesburg. A former editor of The New Republic, Lane has written for Foreign Affairs, The New York Review of Books, and The Atlantic. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard and studied law at Yale. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.


Charles Lane learned about the Colfax Massacre case while covering the Supreme Court for The Washington Post. A former correspondent for Newsweek and editor of The New Republic, Lane has reported from Japan, Latin America, Europe, and southern Africa. His essays have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The New York Review of Books, and The Atlantic. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard and studied law at Yale. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

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