We Were Eight Years in Power - "Introduction: Regarding Good Negro Government," pages xiii-xvii Summary & Analysis

Coates, Ta-Nehisi
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Summary

Coates opens the introduction with an 1895 quote from South Carolina Congressman Thomas Miller, revealing the source of the title of his book. Miller’s quote, made during the state’s constitutional convention, highlights the gains of Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War. Coates then offers historical context for the quote by pointing out that Reconstruction has been painted as an era of black corruption. He further explains that Miller’s aim in highlighting black achievement was to preserve the political and legal gains African Americans made during Reconstruction. Coates points out that Miller was disappointed in his hopes, given that civil and voting rights for African American were curtailed by white supremacy.

Coates quotes DuBois, who saw the constitutional convention as a response not to black corruption but as a white supremacist response to “good Negro...

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