Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow
By: Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Tonya Bolden H
Renowned scholar and debut YA author Gates Jr., along with Bolden, have crafted an excellent work on the rise of Jim Crow laws in the South. The authors detail the changing rights of African Americans during the Civil War and the many legal acts that gave rights of citizenship to black people, such as the Emancipation Proclamation; the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution; and the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Also explained are the tides of white violence, racism, and changing political and economic landscapes that prevented or weakened protections. The narrative covers a lot of ground-and does so at occasionally breathtaking speed. The complexity of the subject and sophisticated language will be readable for high school students but is on the more challenging end of the spectrum. The writing is at times lyrical, with repeated phrases and beautifully constructed prose. Historical quotes, photographs, contemporaneous illustrations, and other primary sources that bring depth to the history are presented throughout.