My name is Eric Silverman Jr. and I’m a graduating junior at Keene State College. I am a double major in Holocaust & Genocide Studies and History with a specialization in war, peace & society. I am looking to continue my time at Keene State in the Masters in History and Archives Program as well as venture into the new and upcoming Genocide Prevention & Human Security Masters program. I am a native New Englander being born and raised in Connecticut somehow being a New York Yankees and the San Francisco 49ers fan. My love of history is one rooted mostly in the 20th century around a long and complicated story originating from R.M.S. Titanic. I am an incredibly active member of the community being the club treasurer for Keene State Democrats, and Keene Cru, the secretary for the Holocaust & Genocide Awareness Club. I also sit on Student Government and Assembly as a representative for the Class of 2023 and through that, I am a Student Representative on the Strategic Planning Committee and a member of the Campus Saftey Student Advisory Panel. I am a member of the Holocaust & Genocide Studies and History honors society, Zeta Chi Rho, and Phi Alpha Theta respectively. I am also one of the founding fathers of the Keene State Chapter of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. I enjoy my time away from academics and clubs with my friends and my books along with my two dogs Bailey and Ginger back at home.
My project will be taking a look into the historiographical debate surrounding the legacy of Reconstruction for African Americans. The legacy of Reconstruction is very broad and is difficult to narrow into a specific focus for any research. My research, however, will focus on the shift from enslavement to that of one by limited economic availability and opportunity along with outright discrimination against newly freed African Americans. This intentional limiting of economic opportunities within the Reconstruction South particularly around issues of land ownership would come to define not only the failure of Reconstruction itself but also the inequality which we still see impacting African Americans today. The contents of this paper while in all earnest trying to be devoid of personal political charge and focus on displaying a historiographical shift/debate, innately and unavoidably takes on a particular political charge given the nature of today’s socio-cultural and socio-political environment. I do not mean to offend or set off one’s personal beliefs merely as best as possible to present a historiographical debate that has become so incredibly charged and divisive.