The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 432
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
zette's and the News's view that radical Reconstruction in Texas began with
the election of Republican governor Edmund J. Davis in December, 1869,
and ended only when Democrats put their candidate, Richard Coke, into
the Governor's Mansion in December, I873. These same historians, how-
ever, have neglected to explore fully the depths of this radicalism. For ex-
ample, William A. Dunning's student Charles Ramsdell viewed Davis's four-
year administration as a bleak period in Texas history when a "minority,
the most ignorant and incapable of her population under the domination
of reckless leaders," ruled the state. "Reconstruction," he asserted, "had left
the pyramid upon its apex" and Coke's election had "placed [it] upon its
base again."' More recently Ernest Wallace restated this thesis in his popular
history of Texas Reconstruction and described Davis's administration as one
which "impoverished the people, disregarded basic freedoms, engendered
hatreds and racial barriers, and discredited . . . the Republican Party
in Texas."' For these men, radical Reconstruction represented the nadir
of Texas history.
Although he rejected this view, black Marxist historian W. E. B. DuBois
actually possessed an important area of agreement with Ramsdell and Wal-
lace. In his analysis of Davis's administration, DuBois discovered white and
black radicals striving to create a respectable society based upon the dignity
of all men. Citing the formation of a sound educational system, the begin-
nings of Negro suffrage, and the election of many blacks to state and local
offices, DuBois implied that Reconstruction in Texas ended too soon, but
significantly he concurred with the view that something approaching radi-
calism existed in the Lone Star State.5
Almost unique in challenging the existence of radicalism in Texas is Le-
rone Bennett, who in his popularly written but nevertheless penetrating study,
Black Power U.S.A., declared, "Reconstruction never got off the ground in
. . . Texas." Furthermore, Bennett contended, while the alleged benefici-
aries of radical Reconstruction, the Negroes, provided "the lion's share of
the vote" to place white men in office, they barely received "the lamb's share
of the spoils."" In a slightly different context Barry A. Crouch and L. J.
Schultz recently examined racial attitudes in Reconstruction Texas. Their
conclusion that "racial separation in Texas . . . was a basic fact of life
3Charles William Ramsdell, Reconstruction in Texas (reprint; Austin, 1970), 292.
4Ernest Wallace, Texas in Turmoil (Austin, 1965), 211.
5W. E. Burghardt DuBois, Black Reconstruction in America (reprint; New York, 1969),
6Lerone Bennett, Jr., Black Power U.S.A.: The Human Side of Reconstruction, 1867-
1877 (Chicago, 1967), 280 (first quotation), 281 (second quotation).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/m1/494/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.