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Title: A brief moment in the sun : Francis Cardozo and Reconstruction in South Carolina
Author: Kinghan, Neil
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 7102
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This dissertation examines the life and career of Francis Lewis Cardozo, the first African American to win election to state-wide office in the United States, in April 1868. He served as Secretary of State, then as State Treasurer, for South Carolina from 1868 to 1877. He played a significant part in developing a new constitution, in promoting land reform and public education and in securing financial stability for South Carolina. Unlike many of his peers, he was an honest and effective office holder, described by a local white newspaper as "the faithful one among the faithless many." For that reason, the white Democratic government, returning to power after Reconstruction, prosecuted him on a trumped-up charge of fraud. They secured his conviction and, briefly, his imprisonment. Condemning him proclaimed the disgrace of Reconstruction as a whole. Cardozo was also a successful educator, at Saxton School in Charleston, between 1865 and 1868, later as Principal of the M Street High School in Washington, after his pardon and release from prison. In both schools, Cardozo's purpose was to show that African American children could succeed on the same terms as white if given the opportunity. As a political leader, he believed that African Americans could govern alongside white people and win acceptance if they proved themselves capable. Despite his own successes, the white population was not persuaded. Racism prevailed and Reconstruction was defeated. Cardozo was the most powerful African American leader in South Carolina. His experiences illuminate the history of Reconstruction. Yet there has been no full-length biography of him. His name has appeared regularly in histories of the period, but never at centre stage. This dissertation aims to recognise Cardozo's central role in Reconstruction and his contribution as an educator, and to demonstrate why he should be remembered now.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available