• The Day Freedom Died

  • The Colfax Massacre and the Betrayal of Reconstruction
  • By: Charles Lane
  • Narrated by: Jim Bond
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 04-29-08
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.3 (36 ratings)

Regular price: $24.47

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Publisher's Summary

America after the Civil War was a land of shattered promises and entrenched hatreds. In the explosive South, danger took many forms: white extremists loyal to a defeated world terrorized former slaves, while in the halls of government, bitter and byzantine political warfare raged between Republicans and Democrats. In The Day Freedom Died, Charles Lane draws us vividly into this war-torn world with a true story whose larger dimensions have never been fully explored. Here is the epic tale of the Colfax Massacre, the mass murder of more than 60 black men on Easter Sunday, 1873, that propelled a small Louisiana town into the center of the nation's consciousness. As the smoke cleared, the perpetrators created a falsified version of events to justify their crimes.
But a tenacious Northern-born lawyer rejected the lies. Convinced that the Colfax murderers must be punished lest the suffering of the Civil War be in vain, U.S. Attorney James Beckwith of New Orleans pursued the killers despite death threats and bureaucratic intrigue - until the final showdown at the Supreme Court of the United States. The ruling that decided the case influenced race relations in the United States for decades.
An electrifying piece of historical detective work, The Day Freedom Died brings to life a gallery of memorable characters in addition to Beckwith: Willie Calhoun, the iconoclastic Southerner who dreamed of building a bastion of equal rights on his Louisiana plantation; Christopher Columbus Nash, the white supremacist avenger who organized the Colfax Massacre; William Ward, the black Union Army veteran who took up arms against white terrorists; Ulysses S. Grant, the well-intentioned but beleaguered president; and Joseph P. Bradley, the brilliant justice of the Supreme Court whose political and legal calculations would shape the drama's troubling final act.
©2008 Charles Lane (P)2008 Brilliance Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Tell[s] the story of the single most egregious act of terrorism during Reconstruction...in vivid, compelling prose....A gripping account." ( The Washington Post Book World)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By pablo on 07-07-17

A Story That Had to Be Told

This was the best book on Reconstruction and the Supreme Court's betrayal of the Civil Right's Amendments that I've read yet.
The story of the massacre is thrilling and full of heroes, villains and anti heroes. It would make a great movie. The legal chapters are no less exciting and provide a concise explanation of how Radical Republican efforts were thwarted by violence, votes, and legal wrangling of the Southern white supremacists.
I recommend this book highly, especially to people who want to know what happened after the Civil War but aren't ready to sit through an exhaustive history.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Stephen Bullock on 06-29-18

Betrayal at its worst

Whoever still debates was the civil war fought over states rights or slavery, this book clearly answers that. 600,000+ americans die in a war and it's politics back to normal afterwards. The civil rights act should have been in place in 1868 but it took 100 years and this book explains why. I recommend

The narration if this book is a bit odd. The narrator has a good cadence to his story telling but at times quotes people in a weird voice trying to sound like a southerner I guess. However he sounds more like "FogHorn LegHorn" from old cartoons and it doesn't matter if the quoted person is white or black. Also (having grown up in central Louisiana) the narrator mispronounces Colfax and Rapides Parish through out the whole book.

still a good book

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