The Rise and Fall of Reconstruction in Virginia


Books & Media:

Boyd, Candy Dawson et al. Virginia. Glenview, Illinois: Scott Foresman, 2003.
History text book used by Alexandria City Public Schools

Erickson, Paul. Daily Life on a Southern Plantation, 1853. New York: Lodestar Books, 1997. An excellent resource with many illustrations and examples for comparing the lives of plantation owners and slaves.

Harding, Vincent. “1865: Beautiful, Cruel Year of Transition in the Black Struggle.” A Portrait of America. Vol 2. Eds. Stephen B. Oates and Charles J. Errico. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1981. In-depth understanding for teachers learning about historical events and people after the Civil War.

January, Brendan. Cornerstones of Freedom: Reconstruction. Children’s Press, 1999.
An excellent source for information about individuals during Reconstruction.

Wade, Linda R. Reconstruction: The Years Following the Civil War. Edina, Minnesota: Abdo Publishing, 1998.
A source that students can use in class to support and enrich their understanding of events and people during Reconstruction.

Winik, Jay. April 1865: The Month that Saved America. Harper Collins, 2001.
A good source for detailed information about the fall of Richmond and its destruction in 1865. Some passages are appropriate for use in elementary school classroom.



African American Odyssey. Library of Congress. December 1, 2005
The Library of Congress contains a wealth of databases and collections for primary sources. The African American Odyssey includes a timeline and description of African American History from slavery through the Civil Rights Era.

Ayers, Edward L. The Valley of the Shadow. The Valley Project. January, 17, 2005
A source for primary documents, letters, and diaries from people living during and after the Civil War. Contains many letters regarding the Freedmen’s Bureau that were useful for this lesson. Most documents are from communities in the South.

Burrell, Kathleen. The Failure of Reconstruction. Spring 2004. Center for the Teaching of American History. January 27, 2005
The Center for the Teacher of American History is an excellent resource for lesson and unit plans made available by Binghamton University. The lessons are geared for upper grades and include links, resources, and primary source documents. Especially useful for this lesson plan is the map comparing plantation and sharecropping at

Discovering American Memory: How Does It Read. Library of Congress. July 13, 2004

This is an excellent guide for using primary source documents in the classroom. It is a step-by-step questioning and analysis guide for use at any level.

Emancipation at Arlington: Freedman's Village, 1863. National Park Service. January 8, 2005

A Freedmen’s Bureau was created in Arlington following the Civil War. This fantastic site gives information, maps and details about the buildings that were used by Freedmen in a self-sufficient village.

Encyclopedia Britannica’s Guide to Black History. Encyclopedia Britannica. March 2. 2005.

The Encyclopedia Britannica is a thorough source for almost any subject. They have a section devoted to black history containing a number of popular and helpful images that are easy to search.

Henderson, Denise. General O. O. Howard's Fight For Education of the Freedmen. January 20, 2005

Denise Henderson has made her essays on the Freedmen’s Bureau and education available online. Links are included to essays by W.E.B. DuBois and other historians.

The History of Jim Crow. New York Life. January 26, 2005

An excellent resource for Jim Crow laws and segregation following the Civil War.

The Library of Virginia. February 3, 2005.
The Library of Virginia includes images and information about historical events in Virginia. A number of popular images about the Civil War are available through this site.

Miller, Steven F. Freedmen and Southern Society Project. September 21, 2004. University of Maryland. January 20, 2005

Excellent accounts of first person experiences of freedmen in the South. African Americans share their experiences after they won freedom and as they faced discrimination and segregation in their lives.

Picture History. January 20, 2005
An excellent collection of clear pictures from throughout history. Pictures and images are also for sale through this site.

Reconstruction: The Second Civil War. 2005. Public Broadcasting System. January 26, 2005
PBS companion guide for its television series about reconstruction. Also includes downloadable video clips of historians discussing Reconstruction institutions such as sharecropping.

Selected Civil War Photographs. Library of Congress. March 13, 2005

The Library of Congress has a collection of Civil War photographs sorted by year and clearly labeled. This collection includes a number of images from the Fall of Richmond and clear examples of the city’s destruction are easy to find.

United Streaming. January 25, 2005
Alexandria City Public Schools employees have access to United Streaming resources and videos. Video clips are searchable by topic and SOL.