The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

experiment of the "century," and, holding white prejudice in Lou-
isiana to blame for hostility to the Bureau, concludes that the historical
record of misconduct and inefficiency was "doubtless" exaggerated.
White knows that economic security in "land," scarce among capital-
less blacks, should have accompanied steps to bestow sociopolitical
freedom, and he says so in a third chapter which also slaps curiously
at Republican bounty to railroads. Unlike many southern writers,
the author considers one of the positive aspects of Reconstruction
to be the Bureau relief effort, "which was pioneering, wise, and
beneficial." In the chapter that follows, however, he qualifies his
enthusiasm for public medicine as one of the Bureau's most con-
structive activities by alluding to Republican interest in railroads
against the background of a doctor shortage and limited funds. White
further doubts the influence of the Bureau upon the labor practices
of Louisiana. The author's disposition to use superlatives reaches its
height in the last two chapters-on pressure politics and/ education.
The greatest accomplishment of the Bureau's pressure politics on
the freedman's behalf lay in giving him his first impression of the
practical meaning of freedom. White's belief that education was a
"magnificent achievement" for the Negro is in the tradition of the
literature. But in showing that it helped public education for whites
and convinced the ruling class of the necessity for general education
to reduce the ignorance and "semi-barbarism" of Louisiana, this book
is a landmark. It is a valuable addition to the literature of the Bureau
and Reconstruction.
The Black Experience in America. Edited by James C. Curtis and
Lewis L. Gould. (Austin: The University of 'Texas Press,
1970. Pp. x + 199. Index. $6.oo.)
The University of 'Texas instituted its black studies program with
predictable eclat. Among the preliminaries was a lecture series that
in the fall of 1968 brought to Austin a procession of well-known
scholars who spoke on various aspects of black history. Eight of the
ten participants contribute to the present volume.
Readers who seek a systematic account of American Negro history
will of course have to look elsewhere, but those interested in new


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed October 31, 2014.