What impact did Black politicians have during the Reconstruction? In episode 77, Trevon Logan from The Ohio State University’s Department of Economics discusses his research into the election of Black politicians after the Civil War ended in 1865, which led to increased tax revenues that were put toward public schools and land ownership reform. White Southerners, however, reversed that progress just 12 years later, augmenting the systematic disenfranchisement of African Americans that remains today. His open-access article “Do Black politicians matter? Evidence from Reconstruction,” was published in March of 2020 in The Journal of Economic History.

How Black Politicians Matter - Trevon Logan
How Black Politicians Matter - Trevon Logan
How Black Politicians Matter - Trevon LoganHow Black Politicians Matter - Trevon Logan
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Hosts / Producers

Doug Leigh & Ryan Watkins

How to Cite

Leigh, D., Watkins, R., & Logan, T. D.. (2020). Parsing Science – How Black Politicians Matter. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.12555239

Music

What’s The Angle? by Shane Ivers

Transcript

Trevon Logan: There was a racialization of anti-poverty policy that made whites really resistant to it, even though they themselves would benefit from those policies.

Ryan Watkins: This is Parsing Science, the unpublished stories behind the world’s most compelling science as told by the researchers themselves. I’m Ryan Watkins.

Doug Leigh: And I’m Doug Leigh. Today in episode 77 of Parsing Science we’ll talk with Trevon Logan from the Ohio State University’s Department of Economics. His research finds that the election of Black politicians after the end of the Civil War in 1865, led to increased tax revenues that were put toward public schooling and land ownership reforms – until white Southerners reverse that progress just 12 years later – resulting in the systematic disenfranchisement of these illegally elected office holders and their constituents. Here’s Trevon Logan.

Logan: I’m Trevon Logan. Currently, I’m a Professor of Economics at The Ohio State University, also research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Originally, I’m from St. Paul, Minnesota. So a place that is recently in the news. Went to the oldest high school in the state of Minnesota – Central High School – and then to the University of Wisconsin. Really became interested in economics, actually, through Herbert Hill, who was the former National Labor director for the NAACP, and became very interested in labor history. Decided to go to graduate school and went to the University of California Berkeley. And after completing my PhD, I have been at Ohio State since 2004.

Watkins: Upon the conclusion of the American Civil War in 1865, serious efforts were undertaken to reintegrate the devastated South into the Union. This period of time – known as the Reconstruction – required that the ex-Confederate states’ Constitutions permanently ended slavery. And to ensure that these requirements were carried out, federal troops were deployed. But with their removal in 1877, Reconstruction ended, ushering in the Redemption era. In it, Southern whites said about systematically disenfranchising Blacks, enacting measures aimed at reinstating the white supremacy which characterize the Antebellum South prior to the onset of the Civil War. While short lived, the history of the Reconstruction era is much deeper, more informative, and at times, much darker than many of us may realize. To begin our conversation, we asked Trevon to describe his journey of becoming an economic historian with a specialization in the period.

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