Sherman’s March Toward Reparations

A Little-Known Civil War Story Illuminates America’s Broken Promise to Black America

Americans get Sherman’s March all wrong. Ask anyone who’s seen Gone with the Wind, and they’ll tell you that U.S. General William T. Sherman’s roughly 250-mile march from Atlanta to Savannah marked the swan song of the Confederacy. They’ll recall the burning of Atlanta, a panoramic scene in the film that made cinematic history, and they’ll regard Sherman as most Georgians still do, as the man who laid waste to the state by slashing and burning his way to the coast.

But this story of fire and arms obscures an arguably …