From the urban rebellions to the salute at the Olympics, commemorations of 1968 — a pivotal year of Black Power — have appeared in news headlines throughout this anniversary year. Yet 2018 also marks the 150th anniversary of 1868 — the height of Black Power during Reconstruction.
It’s not surprising this anniversary has been ignored. Reconstruction is given short shrift in classrooms across the country and history textbooks tend to focus their narrative on the battles between the president and Congress. The year 1868 comes up in textbooks as significant only because of the election of Ulysses S. Grant. This focus on those at the top, misses the groundswell of activity that made the year so explosive.