Reconstructing Pinchback Essay

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This is the story, penned by Glenn Stewart, of Historian Elizabeth Stewart’s 10-year journey to produce the only existing scholarly account of Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, the first African American governor in American history, and a much-maligned historical figure. Glenn’s personal insights into Elizabeth Stewart’s ‘quest’ rely upon the fact that she was his mother. The article below is drawn from the introduction to Mrs. Stewart’s soon-to-be-released book. “Louisiana Adonis”* The Post Reconstruction Career of Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback Elizabeth L. Stewart MA, MLS (1930-2002) *"Where's Pinchback? We hear of Douglas, Langston, Elliott, Greener...and a host of small fry, but not a word from the Louisiana Adonis. He is one of the bravest, shrewdest, and ablest among the Colored leaders and he should not be overlooked. Here's one vote for Pinchback." ---Republican Advocate January 1881 Elizabeth Stewart was a graduate student when Joe Gray Taylor, Chairman of the History Department at McNeese State University, asked her to write a review for a scholarly journal of a prominent author’s newest offering. The book she was to review, and criticize if necessary, was the only biography ever written of Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback (1837-1921), Reconstruction governor of Louisiana, and the first African American to be governor of a State. As the book was composed by James Haskins, an established author, she worried being viewed as immodest, or even an ‘upstart’ should she reveal flaws in the work. I know that because I was there; she was my mother. Why would Dr. Taylor, who was at that time America’s leading expert on Reconstruction in Louisiana ask a graduate student to undertake such a task? The answer is that my mother had chosen to write her Master’s thesis on P.B.S. Pinchback, and was in the midst of years of primary research

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