Arc of Justice

Arc of Justice

by

Kevin Boyle

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Arc of Justice can help.

Reconstruction Term Analysis

Reconstruction is the name for a series of policies and programs enacted by the American government in the years following the American Civil War. Reconstruction aimed to rebuild the country, reestablish trade links and a shared economy between the North and South, modernize the Southern economy, and expand the participation of formerly enslaved people in American politics, education, and life. In these efforts, the government relied on parties like the AME Church, which established schools and colleges for Black students and helped to educate a generation of Black citizens ready and able to fully participate in American politics and society—including Gilla DeVaughn and her sons Remus and Hubburt, and their children. Backlash to the programs fed the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the severity of Jim Crow laws when Southern white Democrats wrested control of state and local governments back from the federal government in the 1880s.

Reconstruction Quotes in Arc of Justice

The Arc of Justice quotes below are all either spoken by Reconstruction or refer to Reconstruction. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
).
Chapter 1 Quotes

It took him twelve more years to fulfill his parents’ instructions, a dozen long, hard years of schooling to master the material that would make him an educated man and earn the pride that was expected of the race’s best men, all the while working as a serving boy for white people […] Ossian never excelled, but he got an education, as fine an education as almost any man in America, colored or white, could claim. By age twenty-five, he had earned his bachelor of science degree […] and his medical degree from Washington, D.C.’s Howard University, the jewel in the crown of Negro colleges.

Related Characters: Ossian Sweet, W. E. B. Du Bois
Page Number: 20-21
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

The threat of violence was constant. Across the cotton belt, planters organized terrorist cells: the Regulators, the Whitecappers, the Ku Klux Klan. Operating under the protection of darkness, the Klan and their fellows targeted anyone who dared to challenge white domination. They forced teachers in colored schools to abandon their posts. They threatened, assaulted, and burned out those few freedmen who managed to acquire land of their own. Mostly, they waged war against the Republican state governments that set Reconstruction’s rules. Vigilantes assassinated dozens of Republicans in the late 1860s and early 1870s, as many as seventy in the heavily black county just east of Leon, where the Klan ran rampant.

Page Number: 52-53
Explanation and Analysis:

So the revolution had come. Eight years earlier, the DeVaughn brothers had been pieces of property. Now they were men who demanded respect: missionaries of the Word, spreading the gospel to their fellow freedmen; aspiring farmers, working to earn a share of the American dream. They were still poor, still landless, still struggling to be equal to whites in fact as well as in name. But they had come so very far, there was every reason to be hopeful […] What must have run through Gilla’s mind as she cradled her granddaughter in her leathery arms? This child wouldn’t be like her babies, who had been born into a world now dead and gone. This child would have a future all her own.

Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

A life in medicine would give Ossian the status he dreamed of—and the money he craved: a doctor could easily take home fifteen hundred dollars a year, an almost unimaginable amount to a young man whose father probably earned a fifth of that figure. If Ossian should rise in the profession, as he intended to do, his income could go even higher […] But it wasn’t the money alone that mattered. A high income would give him the outward signs of success: the dapper clothes he had never had a chance to wear, the fashionable home so different from the farmhouse his father had built. But to be called doctor—Doctor Ossian H. Sweet—that would be the greatest mark of respect he could imagine.

Related Characters: Ossian Sweet
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 85-86
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Arc of Justice LitChart as a printable PDF.
Arc of Justice PDF

Reconstruction Term Timeline in Arc of Justice

The timeline below shows where the term Reconstruction appears in Arc of Justice. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Ain’t No Slavery No More
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...actions drew the federal government’s attention, which reasserted military control of the South and instituted Reconstruction. Republicans, in control of the federal government, planned to remake the South, not only granting... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Among the agents sent to the South to bring Reconstruction to fruition were many priests and pastors, including representatives of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME)... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...they once enslaved. And organizations like the Ku Klux Klan used violence to rebel against Reconstruction. (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
Dora DeVaughn, Remus DeVaughn’s daughter, grew up as Reconstruction’s promises crumbled around her family. By the 1880s, most of the DeVaughn brothers, including Remus,... (full context)
Chapter 3: Migration
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
...great things. A rigorous education will mold these people into racial standard bearers. Early in Reconstruction, Northern abolitionists embraced these ideas, but their interest faded in the economic, political, and social... (full context)