One of our preeminent historians of race and democracy argues that the period since 2008 has marked nothing less than America’s Third Reconstruction
In The Third Reconstruction, distinguished historian Peniel E. Joseph offers a powerful and personal new interpretation of recent history. The racial reckoning that unfolded in 2020, he argues, marked the climax of a Third Reconstruction: a new struggle for citizenship and dignity for Black Americans, just as momentous as the movements that arose after the Civil War and during the civil rights era. Joseph draws revealing connections and insights across centuries as he traces this Third Reconstruction from the election of Barack Obama to the rise of Black Lives Matter to the failed assault on the Capitol. America’s first and second Reconstructions fell tragically short of their grand aims. Our Third Reconstruction offers a new chance to achieve Black dignity and citizenship at last—an opportunity to choose hope over fear.
Peniel E. Joseph joined the University of Texas at Austin in 2015 as Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. He received a joint professorship appointment at the LBJ School of Public Affairs as the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values and at the History Department in the College of Liberal Arts. He received his B.A. from SUNY at Stony Brook and his Ph.D. from Temple University. Dr. Joseph’s career focus has primarily focused on “Black Power Studies,” which encompasses interdisciplinary fields such as Africana studies, law and society, women’s and ethnic studies, and political science.
Peniel Joseph is Associate Dean for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values. A Professor of History and Public Affairs, he is also the founding Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD) at The University of Texas at Austin. His career focus has been on “Black Power Studies,” which encompasses interdisciplinary fields such as Africana studies, law and society, women’s and ethnic studies, and political science. Prior to joining the UT faculty, Dr. Joseph was a professor at Tufts University, where he founded the school’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy to promote engaged research and scholarship focused on the ways issues of race and democracy affect people’s lives.
He is a frequent national commentator on issues of race, democracy and civil rights, and has authored award-winning books Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America;Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama; Stokely: A Life, and The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. The Third Reconstruction: America’s Struggle for Racial Justice in the Twenty-First Century weaves together history, memoir, and cultural criticism, and offers a powerful new interpretation of recent American history and argues that while our first and second Reconstructions failed to achieve their greatest aims, our Third Reconstruction offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to achieve Black dignity and citizenship at last.
Keffrelyn D. Brown
Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Professor, Center for African and African American Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Professor, African and African Diaspora Studies Department, College of Liberal Arts Professor, Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Suzanne B. and John L. Adams Endowed Professorship in Education
Distinguished Teaching Professor
The University of Texas at Austin
Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs
Professor, Department of History
Professor, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Senior Fellow, Provost’s Teaching Fellows
Senior Fellow, William P. Clements, Jr. Center on History, Strategy, and Statecraft
Distinguished Scholar, Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law
University of Texas at Austin.