This fine study of North Carolina’s unique and misunderstood history of interracial politics is rich in lessons about race and reform. Beckel’s insights are fresh, her research is first rate, and her prose is sure-footed. Radical Reform is a significant accomplishment.
(Charles Postel, San Francisco State University, author of The Populist Vision
The case of North Carolina, where the Republican Party survived as an important agency of African American political power after the Civil War, has often confounded social and political historians. In this elegant and thoughtful study, Deborah Beckel traces the often contradictory position of blacks from Reconstruction to Fusion. Her study of race and politics in North Carolina after the Civil War brings together new research, a fresh perspective, and steady and judicious interpretation. The result is the best book that we have on the impact of Emancipation on the political order in post-Civil War North Carolina.
(William A. Link, University of Florida, author of The Paradox of Southern Progressivism, 1880-1930
Well written and engaging, Radical Reform provides a timely historical prism that we may use to understand better both our past and present, but it is not a popular history text; it is a solid academic monograph most appropriate for college and university libraries. With nearly a quarter of its length devoted to annotated endnotes and bibliography, future researchers will find it to be a fertile guide to their studies.
(C. William Gee, East Carolina University North Carolina Library Association
About the Author
Deborah Beckel is descended from the Curlee, Faulkner, Griffin, and Stegall families of Anson and Union Counties in North Carolina.