Cover image for Climbing up to glory : a short history of African Americans during the Civil War and Reconstruction
Climbing up to glory : a short history of African Americans during the Civil War and Reconstruction
Jenkins, Wilbert L., 1953-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Wilmington, Del. : SR Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
xv, 285 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.2 .J46 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The Civil War was undeniably an integral event in American history, but for African Americans, whose personal liberties were dependent upon its outcome, it was an especially critical juncture. The Union defeat of the Confederacy brought African Americans a simultaneous victory over their captors, freeing them from slavery and domination and establishing them as masters of their own fate. But African Americans were far from passive victims of the war. Black soldiers fought on both sides of the conflict_Union and Confederate. In Climbing Up to Glory: A Short History of African Americans during the Civil War and Reconstruction, Wilbert L. Jenkins explores this defining period in a story that documents the journey of average African Americans as they struggled to reinvent their lives following the abolition of slavery. In this highly readable book, Jenkins examines the unflagging determination and inner strength of African Americans as they sought to construct a solid economic base for themselves and their families by establishing their own businesses and banks and strove to own their own land. He portrays the racial violence and other obstacles blacks endured as they pooled meager resources to institute and maintain their own schools and attempted to participate in the political process. The family unit was also impacted by these profound societal changes. During this tumultuous time, African Americans struggled to rebuild families torn apart by slavery and to legalize family relationships such as slave marriages that were previously deemed unlawful. Compelling and informative, Climbing Up to Glory is an unforgettable tribute to a glowing period in African-American history sure to enrich and inspire American and African-American history enthusiasts.

Author Notes

Wilbert L. Jenkins is associate professor of history at Temple University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Jenkins (Temple Univ.) has filled a significant gap in US history with this synthetic work that brings together the disparate threads of African American history from 1860 to 1877. Many specialized works, such as Leon Litwack's Been in the Storm So Long (CH, Nov'79), detailing blacks' transition from slavery to freedom, and Joseph Glatthaar's Forged in Battle (CH, Mar'90), examining blacks' military contributions to the Union Army, have studied aspects of the African American Civil War and Reconstruction experience, but none has brought together the multiple dimensions of blacks' lives. Jenkins analyzes the civilian and military efforts of northern and southern blacks by describing wartime and postwar struggles for education, economic independence, religious autonomy, and political rights. While most of his work relies on secondary sources, he carefully documents his sources, uses current and older materials, and provides a useful bibliographic essay. The volume includes numerous illustrations and photos in addition to a clear and comprehensive narrative. This work will be most helpful to those seeking an overview of African Americans in the Civil War and postwar periods. General and academic collections. J. A. Luckett formerly, United States Military Academy