Dr. Mark Elliott

Associate Professor of History

Dr Mark Elliott

A Fool's Errand
by Albion W. Tourgee

I first read this novel nearly 20 years ago as Master's student in Riverside, California. The book provides an engrossing autobiographical account of the author's life in Greensboro, North Carolina during the tumultuous period of Reconstruction after the Civil War. Although the names of people and places are changed, the book sticks very closely to the actual history of that time. As a graduate student studying the history of Reconstruction, I was fascinated by the perspective of the author and as I began researching into his life, I discovered an incredible story of the forgotten struggles of a civil rights pioneer. Eventually, I wrote a dissertation and published two books about Albion Tourgee, and moved to Greensboro to become a professor at UNCG. My career as a historian began when I started reading this book and found myself wanting to know more about the man who wrote it.