Texas history is a rich vein, a past that is vibrant, often unique and definitely illuminating. Still, despite such a deep heritage, we must also recognize when accounts and past narratives have distorted, exaggerated and in many cases simply mythologized the record. Such examples are numerous, but past chroniclers, pundits, and commentators tend to save some of the most misinterpreted accounts for the era of Reconstruction.

Historians have often portrayed Reconstruction as a period of great oppression, one in which authoritarian northern officials came to Texas and attempted to punish and repress the former Confederates in Texas. So pervasive is the story that most have accepted it as fact, although the reality is quite different.

East Texas Historical Assn. provides this column. Scott Sosebee is executive director,sosebeem@sfasu.edu.

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