DISCUSSION: If you read around line 47, the full meaning of the word becomes clear. The author says that early black historians were engaged in @nation [email protected] and forming a collective identity.
In other words, these historians were shaping 19th century African-American historical consciousness.
So, the author is not using reconstructing in the ordinary sense of “rebuilding something that was destroyed”. Instead, this question is actually using a very old definition of “reconstruct”. I checked Webster’s original dictionary (1828), and found that reconstruct included a definition of “remodel” back then, which is exactly how the author used it in the passage.
To be clear, these historians were not determining the truth about an actual, historical past. Line 55 makes clear that this pan-African historical identity was at least somewhat mythical. Instead, the purpose of this historical work was to give present day [i.e. 19th century] African-Americans a shared historical identity that could inspire them.
All national identity is at least somewhat mythical, so this process is not unusual.
- Lines 54-55 say that the reconstructed African past was “mythical”. So finding the truth wasn’t the main aim of these historians.
- Same as A. Lines 54-55 say that the glorious, reconstructed past was mythical. So determining the factual sequence of events wasn’t the aim.
- I don’t know what this could refer to. The historians were trying to decide what the past was. They weren’t trying to figure out the future implications of the past.
Example of answer: The civil war was a major event. Our research aims to determine the future effects of this war.
- Rewarding the promoters of the glorious African past? This doesn’t make sense. The historians were writing about their view of the past – they weren’t distributing rewards.
- CORRECT. See the analysis above. By constructing a shared view of their African past, the African-American historians were trying to spread a particular view of history and give African-Americans a shared identity.
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