Dr. Foner,

By coincidence I heard you on national public radio today. I also finished reading your "Short History of Reconstruction" today. I'm from Duluth where we are currently commemorating the tragedy of a 1920 lynching of three black men. One of those men was from Topeka, Kansas where I went to elementary school immediately following Brown v Board of Ed. That is where my Grandfather served as the State Auditor, an office to which he was appointed, in part, for winning the Congressional Medal of Honor. He won it while serving as a white officer in the 369th Infantry which was raised a few blocks away from Columbia, in Harlem. It was assigned to the French Fourth Army in WWI because Blackjack Pershing's officer corps could not countenance black troops. 

My Grandfather was raised in Kansas. I just reread a speech he gave about an escaped slave he knew as a boy in Salina, Kansas. He also wrote a speech about the black man as a soldier. He got his masters degree in history from Columbia, University. When I finished your book you mentioned the terrible work of two professors in the Columbia History Department who confirmed the southern myth of Reconstruction to a receptive nation.

So......these coincidences impelled me to look you up. I hope you might have some time to help me find out some information about my Grandfather, George Robb. I'm very curious about whether he ever took a class from Professors Dunning or Burgess. I'm curious about the extent to which their prejudices might have contributed to his attitude about race.

A few years ago a librarian at Columbia sent me the thesis my grandfather wrote in 1915 which was in the library. Would he have been here during the Burgess and Dunning era? 

I was prompted to finish your book, which I had set aside several years ago, after reading the Winik book "April 1865." I wanted to find out what happened next. Your book was wonderful. I may order the more complete text upon which it is based. I'd be curious about your thoughts on the Winik book if you've read it.

I hope this is not too tall an order.


Harry Robb Welty
Duluth, Minnesota