A telling reevaluation of African American roles in government and law during Reconstruction
At Freedom's Door rescues from obscurity the identities, images, and long-term contributions of black leaders who helped to rebuild and reform South Carolina after the Civil War. In seven essays, the contributors to the volume explore the role of African Americans in government and law during Reconstruction in the Palmetto State. Bringing into focus a legacy not fully recognized, the contributors collectively demonstrate the legal acumen displayed by prominent African Americans and the impact these individuals had on the enactment of substantial constitutional reforms—many of which, though abandoned after Reconstruction, would be resurrected in the twentieth century.
James Lowell Underwood is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the School of Law, University of South Carolina. He is the author of four volumes on the constitution of South Carolina and a nationally recognized book on civil litigation. Underwood lives in Columbia.
W. Lewis Burke is a professor of law at the University of South Carolina. He is the coeditor of Matthew J. Perry: The Man, His Times, and His Legacy and the author of many articles on legal history. Burke also lives in Columbia.
"This book makes a contribution that extends beyond the history of Reconstruction (or African Americans). For those who teach U.S. history survey courses, the essays in this collection provide a wealth of anecdotes and incidents that can help illuminate the period and put a human face on its events."—Journal of Southern History
"A surprisingly accessible history of politics and race in Reconstruction-era South Carolina."—Kirkus Reviews