Kate Masur, ‘Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction’ | The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research


Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021, 4:00pm

Location: Virtual Lecture

Register in advance for this webinar: https://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_jqZBohLQSnGEirM1aeQm3w

Kate Masur’s new book reveals how Black and white activists in the antebellum North built a movement for racial equality and pushed it from the margins to the center of American politics. From sailors in Massachusetts to teachers and pastors in Ohio, African Americans led the way in demanding repeal of laws that restricted the civil rights of free Black people. White progressives joined the fight, and by the time the Civil War arrived in 1861, the Republican Party was poised to make racial equality before the law a cornerstone of federal policy. As this book reveals, the 14th Amendment and our first federal civil rights statutes were the fruits of decades of political organizing.

Kate Masur is Associate Professor of History at Northwestern University and author, most recently, of Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction. She written widely on the intersections of law, politics, and everyday life in U.S. history, including in her first book, An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, DC, and in the edited volume, The World the Civil War Made. Extensively involved in public-facing scholarship, she was part of the editorial team that created Reconstruction: The Official National Park Service Handbook, and she co-authored, with Gregory Downs, The Era of Reconstruction, 1861-1900, a National Historic Landmark Theme Study published in 2017. She was a key consultant for the 2019 documentary, Reconstruction: America after the Civil War and is featured in the recent CNN film, Lincoln: Divided We Stand. Masur’s work has recently appeared in The Journal of the Civil War Era and the American Journal of Legal History, in volumes on the Memphis Massacre and biographical film in history, and as commentary in the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, and elsewhere. She is currently co-editor, with Downs, of Journal of the Civil War Era, published by University of North Carolina Press, and was part of a four-person team that organized last September’s “We Want More History” national day of action.

Part of the Virtual W. E. B. Du Bois Lecture Series

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