Historian Willie Lee Rose, "who upended the scholarly consensus of her time by shifting the primary blame for the failure of Reconstruction after the Civil War from freed slaves and Northern interlopers to irresolute federal officials," died June 20, the New York Times reported. She was 91. Before being incapacitated by a stroke in 1978, Rose taught at the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins University and became a prominent advocate for women who aspired to teach history.
"She looked at the ground level at how the end of slavery unleashed a tremendous set of conflicts over what should follow," said historian Eric Foner. "Her book Rehearsal for Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment  depicted Northern teachers, the Army, Treasury Department agents, Northern cotton planters and the former slaves themselves, battling over access to land, control of labor, access to education and political power."
Rehearsal for Reconstruction won two prestigious awards from the Society of American Historians: the Allan Nevins Prize for best dissertation and the Francis Parkman Prize for the best work of American history. Rose's other books include a collection of letters, diaries and other ephemera titled Documentary History of Slavery in North America (1976) and Slavery and Freedom (1982).