Pundit and House candidate Burgess Owens plagiarized numerous passages in his book Why I Stand

Owens even plagiarized a portion of his book to smear the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis

The book cover of Burgess Owens' Why I Stand on Fox News

Update (8/27/20): After this piece was published, Burgess Owens misled people about his plagiarism. In an interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KUTV, he stated: “Every single thing that they showed was referenced. I was very careful to make sure that anything I did -- I mean, I'm not an expert at journalism, I'm a biology major -- but I knew one thing, that if I took someone else, I made sure I referenced.” 

That’s false. As seen below, Media Matters reported instances when Owens did not reference the original source of his lifted text. 

Additionally, Media Matters documented that while Owens included endnotes in other instances of plagiarism, he did not indicate to readers that he was lifting entire sentences and passages virtually verbatim from other sources. By Owens’ standard, someone could literally cut and paste his entire book (or any piece of writing) and pass that off as their own work as long as there’s an endnote.

Original post

Right-wing pundit and U.S. House candidate Burgess Owens, who is scheduled to speak on August 26 at the Republican National Convention, plagiarized numerous passages in his most recent book Why I Stand: From Freedom to the Killing Fields of Socialism. Owens lifted material from sources ranging from Wikipedia to a relatively obscure blog for sections on subjects including the NFL and the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), whom he repeatedly smears. 

Media Matters previously reported that Owens, who is running for Congress in Utah's 4th Congressional District, appeared on a QAnon program in May and asked for money and support. (Owens did not directly talk about the violence-linked conspiracy theory, which the FBI has said is a potential terrorist threat, but bashed Democrats as evil, among other things.) In 2019, Owens praised and helped raise money for the group We Build the Wall; the Department of Justice recently accused four of the group’s organizers, including 2016 Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon, of defrauding donors. 

Owens is the author of two books that were published by Post Hill Press: Liberalism or How to Turn Good Men into Whiners, Weenies and Wimps (2016) and Why I Stand: From Freedom to the Killing Fields of Socialism (2018). His authorship of both books is part of his campaign pitch, as it’s mentioned in his biography and resume. Fox Business and Fox News have also promoted the book during his appearances. 

Owens’ Why I Stand is a vitriolic book that attacks Democrats and the political left for purportedly trying to subvert and destroy the country through “Marxist” policies. 

He focuses a lot of criticism on the Congressional Black Caucus and the late civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis, to whom he devotes an entire chapter. In it, Owens writes that Lewis “has come to represent the empathy-free heart and soul of a select club of elitist Black politicians. Granted the opportunity to give voice and power to the urban powerless, instead they opt to ingratiate themselves with fame, fortune… and a fantastic retirement pension.” He also claims that “history will, in time, expose his lifelong commitment to Socialist/ Marxist polices as antithetical to Martin Luther King’s vision of freedom, racial harmony, and progress.” (While Owens plagiarized a portion of his chapter on Lewis, these sentences were not plagiarized.) 

In writing this book, Owens heavily plagiarized numerous sources and passed their work off as his own. 

Specifically, Owens lifted numerous sentences from sources without including any credit or endnote. He also lifted numerous passages from other sources, putting in endnotes at various points but failing to indicate to the reader that those words were taken virtually verbatim from elsewhere, such as by including quotation marks, indented text, or a note stating that the writing wasn’t his own.

Owens’ plagiarism starts early in chapter one and continues throughout the book. It’s so bad that in one instance, it continues for eight consecutive paragraphs

The following are 12 representative examples -- but not all of the examples that Media Matters found -- of Owens committing plagiarism in Why I Stand

Owens lifted text verbatim without crediting the original work

The following are examples of Owens lifting text from other sources without crediting them. 

Example: The NFL International Series 

Owens’ book contains sentences about the NFL International Series that previously appeared in a Wikipedia article about those football games.

From Owens' book: From Wikipedia:

Games in the United Kingdom are broadcast by the BBC and Sky Sports, either live on BBC2 or online via the BBC Sports website and interactive TV, and on Sky Sports Action. The games have been popular, with tickets for the two games per season selling out in two days, nine months in advance. According to the NFL, only three percent of those attending the London games are Americans or American expatriates, while twenty-two percent are from London and sixty percent from elsewhere in Britain. Ticket prices are from thirty-five British pounds for end zone seats to a hundred pounds for lower sideline seats. A team that plays a home game in London sells a cheaper season ticket package for its own stadium with seven regular season games rather than the usual eight. Each designated home team receives one million US dollars for giving up the home game. 414

Games in the United Kingdom are broadcast by the BBC and Sky Sports either live on BBC2 or online via the BBC Sports website and interactive TV and on Sky Sports Action.  ... The games have been popular, with tickets for the two games per season selling out in two days, nine months in advance. According to the NFL, only 3% of those attending the London games are Americans or American expatriates, while 22% are from London and 60% from elsewhere in Britain. Ticket prices are from £35 for end zone seats to £100 for lower sideline seats.[7] A team that plays a home game in London sells a cheaper season ticket package for its own stadium with seven regular season games rather than the usual eight. Each designated home team receives US$1 million for giving up the home game.[8]

Owens’ “414” endnote says, “Omar Kelly. ‘Dolphins Will Host New York Jets in London in 2015.’ Sun Sentinel. November 6, 2014, sec. Sports. sun-sentinel.com/ sports/ miami-dolphins/ sfl-dolphins-will-host-new-york-jets-in-london-in-2015-20141106-story.html.” Wikipedia’s “8” citation refers to Kelly’s November 2014 Sun-Sentinel article. (The Kindle version also includes hyperlinks to various Wikipedia pages but not to the page about the NFL International Series.) 

Example: Gangsta rap

Owens’ book contains several sentences about gangsta rap that are virtually identical to ones that appeared in Wikipedia. 

From Owens' book: From Wikipedia:
Gangsta rap, 304  or gangster rap, is a subgenre of hip-hop music305 street gangs306  and the thug’ or gangsta lifestyle. The genre evolved from hardcore hip-hop into a distinct form, pioneered in the mid-1980s by rappers such as Schoolly D307and Ice-T, 308and was popularized in the latter part of the 1980s by groups like N.W.A. 309  After the national attention that Ice-T and N.W.A attracted in the late ’80s and early ’90s, gangsta rap became the most commercially lucrative subgenre of hip-hop. Many (if not most) gangsta rap artists openly boast of their associations with various active street gangs as part of their artistic image, with the Bloods310  and Crips311  being the most commonly represented. Gangsta rap is closely related to other indigenous gang and crime-oriented forms of music, such as the narcocorrido genre of northern Mexico. Gangsta rap or gangster rap is a subgenre of hip hop music with themes and lyrics that emphasize the "thug" or "gangsta" lifestyle. The genre evolved from hardcore hip hop into a distinct form, pioneered in the mid-1980s by rappers such as Schoolly D and Ice-T, and was popularized in the later part of the 1980s by groups like N.W.A.[1]After the national attention that Ice-T and N.W.A attracted in the late 1980s and early 1990s, gangsta rap became the most commercially lucrative subgenre of hip hop. Many (if not most) gangsta rap artists openly boast of their associations with various active street gangs as part of their artistic image, with the Bloods and Crips being the most commonly represented. Gangsta rap is closely related to other indigenous gang and crime-oriented forms of music, such as the narcocorrido genre of northern Mexico.[2]

Owens’ “304” endnote states, “Henry Adaso. ‘Gangsta Rap: What Is Gangsta Rap?’ Learning. ThoughtCo.com, March 18, 2017. thoughtco.com/ what-is-gangsta-rap-2857307”; the rest in the section (“305” through “311”) list the Wikipedia pages for “Hip Hop Music,” “Gang,” “Schoolly D,” “Ice-T,” “N.W.A.,” “Bloods,” and “Crips.” (The Kindle version also includes hyperlinks to various Wikipedia pages but not to the page about gangsta rap.)

Example: Obama and the Woods Fund of Chicago

Owens’ book contains a paragraph about former President Barack Obama and the Woods Fund of Chicago that is similar to wording that appeared in a July 7, 2008, American Thinker article by Richard Henry Lee.

From Owens' book: From American Thinker:
Barack Obama served on the board of directors of Woods Fund of Chicago from 1993 to 2001. During that time, the tax exempt foundation gave grants to Obama’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ, headed by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and ACORN, a Left Wing voter registration group defunded by congress in 2010 for voter fraud. The fund also used Northern Trust for financial services, which is the same company that provided Obama his 2005 mortgage. The board of directors included Barack Obama; William Ayers, the former Weather Underground terrorist; Howard J. Stanback, who headed New Kenwood, LLC, a limited liability company founded by Tony Rezko; and Allison Davis, Obama’s former boss at the law firm of Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland. Barack Obama served on the board of directors of Woods Fund of Chicago from 1993 to 2001. During that time, the tax exempt foundation made some interesting grants, including one to Obama's church, Trinity United Church of Christ, headed by Rev. Jeremiah Wright at the time. Grants were also made to ACORN, a left wing voter registration group and to a partnership for constructing low income housing. The fund also used Northern Trust for financial services, which is the same company that provided Obama his 2005 mortgage.

In 2001 the board of directors included Obama, William Ayers, the former Weather Underground radical terrorist, and serving as chairman was Howard J. Stanback who headed New Kenwood LLC, a limited liability company founded by now-convicted felon Tony Rezko and Allison Davis, Obama's former boss at the law firm of Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland.

(Both the Kindle version and American Thinker piece include a hyperlink to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Ayers_2008_presidential_election_controversy.)

Example: Lincoln and Reconstruction

Owens’ book contains a paragraph about former President Abraham Lincoln and the reconstruction that is virtually identical to one on Howard University’s reference guide on Reconstruction, which was published before Owens’ book.

From Owens' book: From Howard University:
The period after the Civil War from 1865 to 1877 was called the Reconstruction period. Abraham Lincoln began planning for the reconstruction of the South during the Civil War as Union soldiers occupied huge areas of the South. The period after the Civil War, 1865 - 1877, was called the Reconstruction period.  Abraham Lincoln started planning for the reconstruction of the South during the Civil War as Union soldiers occupied huge areas of the South. 

Owens lifted text from sources and included endnotes but did not indicate he was taking those words verbatim

Example: President Herbert Hoover

Owens’ first chapter, which is about former President Herbert Hoover, contains passages that were lifted from an introduction by Hoover biographer George H. Nash to Hoover’s 1922 book American Individualism

From Owens' book: From Nash’s introduction

He implored his fellow citizens not to turn their country into a laboratory for experiments in foreign social diseases.” 3  Instead, he contended that a “definite American substitute is needed for these disintegrating theories of Europe,” a substitute grounded in “our national instincts,” and “the normal development of our national institutions.” 4

...

Unlike Europe, where oppressive class barriers had generated misery and discontent, the American social system was based on “the negation of class.” A society, said Hoover, in which there is a constant flux of individuals in the community, upon the basis of ability and character, is a moving virile mass.” 5  Such a society was the United States of America.

Hoover implored his fellow citizens not to turn their country into a laboratory for experiment in foreign social diseases.”Instead he contended that a “definite American substitute is needed for these disintegrating theories of Europe”--a substitute grounded in “our national instincts” and “the normal development of our national institutions.”10

...

Unlike Europe, where oppressive class barriers had generated misery and discontent, the American social system was based on “the negation of class.” A society, said Hoover, in which there is "a constant flux of individuals in the community, upon the basis of ability and character, is a moving virile mass.”11Such a society was the United States of America.

Owens' “2”  endnote, which comes prior to the text above, is to “Herbert Hoover, and George H. Nash, American Individualism, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1922.” His “6” endnote is to “Herbert Hoover, American Individualism.”  

Example: “The Great Experiment” 

Several sentences of Owens’ second chapter discussing “the Great American Experiment” is lifted verbatim from an April 24, 2018, Townhall piece by Jim Huntzinger. 

From Owens' book: From Townhall:

The Great Experiment, America, has constructed the greatest civilization the world has ever seen. While it took principles and practices from a variety of other civilizations, the configuration is utterly unique. Never before has man put together such a system which has continuously delivered more freedom, liberty, and prosperity. It is unique in history and remains unique in the world today. As John Quincy Adams stated in 1837: “This organization is an anomaly in the history of the world.”

Other successful modern civilizations owe their success to America and are themselves modeled after it, though none have ever reached its level of success. The key element of the American experiment was the focus on the individual, and the individual’s relationship with God. ”You’re individuals, [the Founding Fathers were] saying to the colonists. You’re children of God. You’re no longer subject to the king.” 9

The Great Experiment, America, has constructed the greatest civilization the world has ever seen.   While it took principles and practices from a variety of other civilizations, the configuration of the Great Experiment is utterly unique; never before has man put together such a system which has continuously delivered more freedom, liberty and prosperity.   It is unique in history and remains unique in the world today; as John Quincy Adams stated in 1837, “This organization is an anomaly in the history of the world.”[1]  Other successful modern civilizations owe their success to America and are themselves modeled after it; though none have ever reached its level of success.  The key element of the American experiment was the focus on the individual, and the individual’s relationship with God.   “You’re individuals, [the Founding Fathers are] saying to the colonists.  You’re children of God.  You’re no longer subject to the king.”[2]

Owens’ “9” endnote reads, “Jim Huntzinger. ‘How The Gospel Led To American Individualism And Prosperity.’ Townhall Finance. n.d., Online edition, sec. Columnists. finance.townhall.com/ columnists/ jimhuntzinger/ 2018/ 04/ 24/ how-the-gospel-led-to-american-individualism-and-prosperity-n2474065.”

Example: Vouchers

Owens’ book contains sentences about school vouchers that previously appeared in a January 28, 2016, National Review piece by Jason Bedrick. 

From Owens' book: From National Review:

Noting that nine out of ten voucher recipients were Black, a Washington Post editorial declared in September 2013 that it was “… bewildering, if not downright perverse, for the Obama administration to use the banner of civil rights to bring a misguided suit that would block these disadvantaged students from getting the better educational opportunities they are due.” 14

...

Fortunately, the courts prevented his administration from blocking school choice and schoolhouse doors in Louisiana. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the suit in a blistering decision by Judge Edith Jones, who called the administration’s argument “disingenuous.” The majority held that the lower court’s order complying with the administration’s wishes went “beyond correcting— and indeed has nothing to do with— the violation originally litigated in [the case]” and noted that even the Department of Justice admitted that its position “amounted to a fishing expedition.”

After four years of investigation, the Obama DOJ, in late 2015, quietly terminated its targeting of the oldest school voucher program in the nation. The investigation stemmed from complaints by the American Civil Liberties Union and Disability Rights Wisconsin, which claimed in 2011 that Milwaukee’s voucher program supposedly discriminated against children with disabilities. 15

Noting that nine out of ten voucher recipients were black, a Washington Post editorial declared in September 2013 that it was “bewildering, if not downright perverse, for the Obama administration to use the banner of civil rights to bring a misguided suit that would block these disadvantaged students from getting the better educational opportunities they are due.”

...

Fortunately, the courts prevented the Obama administration from blocking the schoolhouse doors. Last November, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the suit in a blistering decision by Judge Edith Jones, who called the administration’s argument “disingenuous.” The majority held that the lower court’s order complying with the administration’s wishes went “beyond correcting — and indeed has nothing to do with — the violation originally litigated in [the case]” and noted that even the Department of Justice admitted that its position “amounted to a fishing expedition.”

...

Late last month, the DOJ quietly terminated a four-year investigation into the oldest school-voucher program in the nation. The investigation stemmed from complaints by the American Civil Liberties Union and Disability Rights Wisconsin, which claimed in 2011 that Milwaukee’s voucher program supposedly discriminated against children with disabilities.

Owens’ “14” endnote states, “Jason Bedrick. ‘Obama’s War on School Choice.’ National Review. January 28, 2016, Online edition, sec. Politics & Policy. nationalreview.com/ article/ 430446/ obama-against-school-choice.” Endnote “15” is the same.

Example: Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction

Owens’ book contains wording about Reconstruction that previously appeared in Wikipedia.

From Owens' book: From Wikipedia:

Andrew Johnson, the Democratic successor to President Lincoln, showed a heightened leniency toward the defeated ex-Confederates. Whereas Lincoln showed a leaning toward supporting the enfranchisement of all freedmen, Johnson opposed this. 185

Johnson’s interpretations of Lincoln’s policies prevailed until the Congressional elections of 1866, which enabled the Radical Republicans to take control of policy. They removed former Confederates from power and enfranchised the Black freedmen. A Republican coalition came to power in nearly all the southern states and set out to transform society by setting up a free labor economy, using the U.S. Army and the Freedmen’s Bureau. The Bureau protected the legal rights of freedmen, negotiated labor contracts, and established schools and churches. Thousands of northerners came south as missionaries, teachers, businessmen, and politicians. Hostile southern Democrats called them “carpetbaggers.”

In early 1866, Congress passed the Freedmen’s Bureau and civil rights bills and sent them to Johnson for his signature. The first bill extended the life of the bureau, originally established as a temporary organization charged with assisting refugees and freed slaves, while the second defined all persons born in the United States as national citizens with equality before the law. President Johnson vetoed the bills, but Congress overrode his veto. This historic Civil Rights Act was the first major bill in the history of the United States to become law through an override of a presidential veto. The Radical Republicans in the House of Representatives, frustrated by Johnson’s opposition to Congressional Reconstruction, filed impeachment charges. The action failed by one vote in the Senate. 186

Johnson followed a lenient policy toward ex-Confederates. Lincoln's last speeches show that he was leaning toward supporting the enfranchisement of all freedmen, whereas Johnson was opposed to this.[3]

Johnson's interpretations of Lincoln's policies prevailed until the Congressional elections of 1866 in the North, which enabled the Radicals to take control of policy, remove former Confederates from power, and enfranchise the freedmen. A Republican coalition came to power in nearly all the southern states and set out to transform the society by setting up a free labor economy, using the U.S. Army and the Freedmen's Bureau. The Bureau protected the legal rights of freedmen, negotiated labor contracts, and set up schools and churches for them. Thousands of Northerners came south as missionaries, teachers, businessmen and politicians. Some also entered politics. Hostile whites called them “carpetbaggers” . In early 1866, Congress passed the Freedmen's Bureau and Civil Rights Bills and sent them to Johnson for his signature. The first bill extended the life of the bureau, originally established as a temporary organization charged with assisting refugees and freed slaves, while the second defined all persons born in the United States as national citizens with equality before the law. After Johnson vetoed the bills, Congress overrode his veto, making the Civil Rights Act the first major bill in the history of the United States to become law through an override of a presidential veto. The Radicals in the House of Representatives, frustrated by Johnson's opposition to Congressional Reconstruction, filed impeachment charges. The action failed by one vote in the Senate.

Owens’ “186” endnote states, “‘Reconstruction Era.’ Wikipedia, July 2018. en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Reconstruction_Era.”

Example: The Reconstruction era, part 1

Owens’ book contains numerous passages documenting the history of reconstruction that previously appeared in an article posted on History.com.

From Owens' book: From History.com:

Under the administration of Democratic President Andrew Johnson, in 1865 and 1866 new southern state legislatures passed restrictive “Black codes” to control the labor and behavior of former slaves and other African Americans. 187  In Johnson’s view, the southern states had never given up their right to govern themselves, and the federal government had no right to determine voting requirements or other questions at the state level.

Because of Johnson’s leniency, many southern states successfully enacted a series of “Black codes” designed to restrict freed Blacks from competing with White laborers. These repressive codes enraged many in the North. As a result, many of the Radical Republicans refused to seat congressmen and senators elected from the southern states.

Under Johnson’s Presidential Reconstruction, all land that had been confiscated and distributed to the freed slaves by the Union army or the Freedmen’s Bureau (established by Congress in 1865) reverted to its prewar owners.

Apart from being required to uphold the abolition of slavery in compliance with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, swear loyalty to the Union, and pay off war debt, southern state governments were given free rein to rebuild themselves. After northern voters rejected Johnson’s policies in the congressional elections in late 1866, Republicans in Congress took firm hold of Reconstruction in the South. The following March, over Johnson’s veto, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867, which temporarily divided the South into five military districts and outlined how governments based on universal (male) suffrage were to be organized. The law also required southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment, which broadened the definition of citizenship, granting “equal protection” of the Constitution to former slaves, before they could rejoin the Union. In February 1869, Congress approved the 15th Amendment (adopted in 1870), which guaranteed that a citizen’s right to vote would not be denied “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

By 1870, all the former Confederate states had been readmitted to the Union, and the state constitutions during the years of Radical Reconstruction were the most progressive in the region’s history. African American participation in southern public life after 1867 would be by far the most radical development of Reconstruction, which was essentially a large-scale experiment in interracial democracy unlike that of any other society following the abolition of slavery. Blacks won election to southern state governments and the U.S. Congress during this period. Among the other achievements of Reconstruction were the South’s first state-funded public school systems, more equitable taxation legislation, laws against racial discrimination in public transport and accommodations, and ambitious economic development programs, including aid to railroads and other enterprises. 188

Reconstruction Comes to an End

After 1867, an increasing number of southern Whites turned to violence in response to the revolutionary changes of Radical Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan and other White supremacist organizations targeted local Republican leaders, White and Black, and other African Americans who challenged White authority. Federal legislation passed during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant in 1871 took aim at the Klan and others who attempted to interfere with Black suffrage and other political rights. White supremacy gradually reasserted its hold on the South after the early 1870s as support for Reconstruction waned. Racism was still a potent force in both the North and South, and Republicans became less egalitarian as the decade continued. In 1874, after an economic depression plunged much of the South into poverty, the Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the Civil War. 189

When Democrats waged a campaign of violence to take control of Mississippi in 1875, Grant refused to send federal troops, marking the end of federal support for Reconstruction-era state governments in the South. By 1876, only Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina were still in Republican hands. In the contested presidential election that year, Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes reached a compromise with Democrats in Congress. In exchange for certification of his election, he acknowledged Democratic control of the entire South. The Compromise of 1876 marked the end of Reconstruction as a distinct period, but the struggle to deal with the revolution ushered in by slavery’s eradication would continue in the South and elsewhere long after that date. A century later, the legacy of Reconstruction would be revived during the civil rights movement of the 1960s as African Americans fought for the political, economic, and social equality that had long been denied them. 190

Under the administration of President Andrew Johnson in 1865 and 1866, new southern state legislatures passed restrictive “black codes” to control the labor and behavior of former slaves and other African Americans. 

...

In Johnson’s view, the southern states had never given up their right to govern themselves, and the federal government had no right to determine voting requirements or other questions at the state level. Under Johnson’s Presidential Reconstruction, all land that had been confiscated by the Union Army and distributed to the freed slaves by the army or the Freedmen’s Bureau (established by Congress in 1865) reverted to its prewar owners. Apart from being required to uphold the abolition of slavery (in compliance with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution), swear loyalty to the Union and pay off war debt, southern state governments were given free rein to rebuild themselves.

As a result of Johnson’s leniency, many southern states in 1865 and 1866 successfully enacted a series of laws known as the “black codes, which were designed to restrict freed blacks’ activity and ensure their availability as a labor force. These repressive codes enraged many in the North, including numerous members of Congress, which refused to seat congressmen and senators elected from the southern states.

...

After northern voters rejected Johnson’s policies in the congressional elections in late 1866, Radical Republicans in Congress took firm hold of Reconstruction in the South. The following March, again over Johnson’s veto, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867, which temporarily divided the South into five military districts and outlined how governments based on universal (male) suffrage were to be organized. The law also required southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment, which broadened the definition of citizenship, granting “equal protection” of the Constitution to former slaves, before they could rejoin the Union. In February 1869, Congress approved the 15th Amendment (adopted in 1870), which guaranteed that a citizen’s right to vote would not be denied “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

By 1870, all of the former Confederate states had been admitted to the Union, and the state constitutions during the years of Radical Reconstruction were the most progressive in the region’s history. The participation of African Americans in southern public life after 1867 would be by far the most radical development of Reconstruction, which was essentially a large-scale experiment in interracial democracy unlike that of any other society following the abolition of slavery. Southern blacks won election to southern state governments and even to the U.S. Congress during this period. Among the other achievements of Reconstruction were the South’s first state-funded public school systems, more equitable taxation legislation, laws against racial discrimination in public transport and accommodations and ambitious economic development programs (including aid to railroads and other enterprises.)

Reconstruction Comes to an End

After 1867, an increasing number of southern whites turned to violence in response to the revolutionary changes of Radical Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations targeted local Republican leaders, white and black, and other African Americans who challenged white authority. Though federal legislation passed during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant in 1871 took aim at the Klan and others who attempted to interfere with black suffrage and other political rights, white supremacy gradually reasserted its hold on the South after the early 1870s as support for Reconstruction waned. Racism was still a potent force in both South and North, and Republicans became more conservative and less egalitarian as the decade continued. In 1874after an economic depression plunged much of the South into povertythe Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the Civil War.

When Democrats waged a campaign of violence to take control of Mississippi in 1875, Grant refused to send federal troops, marking the end of federal support for Reconstruction-era state governments in the South. By 1876, only Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina were still in Republican hands. In the contested presidential election that year, Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes reached a compromise with Democrats in Congress: In exchange for certification of his election, he acknowledged Democratic control of the entire South. The Compromise of 1876 marked the end of Reconstruction as a distinct period, but the struggle to deal with the revolution ushered in by slavery’s eradication would continue in the South and elsewhere long after that date. A century later, the legacy of Reconstruction would be revived during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, as African Americans fought for the political, economic and social equality that had long been denied them.

Owens’ endnote “187” states, “‘Reconstruction: Compromise of 1877.’ History.com, n.d. history.com/ topics/ american-civil-war/ reconstruction,” and “188” to “190” are also to History.com.

Example: The Reconstruction era, part 2

Following the prior example, Owens’ book contains a paragraph about Reconstruction that are virtually identical to a paragraph that previously appeared on Wikipedia.

From Owens' book: From Wikipedia:
Reconstruction was a significant chapter in the history of civil rights in the United States, and in economic history. After Reconstruction ended, the South remained a poverty-stricken “backwater” dependent on agriculture. 191  White Southerners soon succeeded in re-establishing legal and political dominance over Blacks through violence, intimidation, and discrimination. Historian Eric Foner argues, “What remains certain is that Reconstruction failed, and that for Blacks its failure was a disaster whose magnitude cannot be obscured by the genuine accomplishments that did endure.” 192 Reconstruction was a significant chapter in the history of civil rights in the United States, and in economic history. After Reconstruction ended, the South remained a poverty-stricken “backwater” dependent on agriculture.[5]  White Southerners soon succeeded in re-establishing legal and political dominance over blacks through violence, intimidation and discrimination. Historian Eric Foner argues, “What remains certain is that Reconstruction failed, and that for blacks its failure was a disaster whose magnitude cannot be obscured by the genuine accomplishments that did endure.” [6]

Owens’ “191” endnote states,“‘Reconstruction: Compromise of 1877.’ History.com, n.d. history.com/ topics/ american-civil-war/ reconstruction”; and “Foner, E. Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. Perennial Classics. HarperCollins, 2002. books.google.com/ books? id = FhvA0S_op38C.” Endnote “192” is the same. Wikipedia’s “6” note says: “Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's unfinished revolution, 1863–1877 (1988) p 604 reprinted in Francis G. Couvares, ed., (2000). Interpretations of American History Vol. I Through Reconstruction (7th ed.). p. 409.).” (Note: Owens cites Wikipedia’s Reconstruction page earlier in the chapter in endnote “186.”) 

Example: Rep. John Lewis

Owens’ book contains sentences criticizing the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis that previously appeared in a January 16, 2017, post -- headlined “Trump Is 100 Percent Right about Congressman John Lewis” -- on the right-wing blog Bombthrowers by Tina Trent. 

From Owens' book: From Bombthrowers:
Deep down though, these Black professionals must know that the real reason their property values are rising is because the Feds and John Lewis continue to quietly ship the troubled families and crime-blighted projects out of their increasingly valuable real estate into neighboring Clayton County. A once-White, middle-class, stable rural community, Clayton County has devolved into a crime-ridden hellhole within just a few years of wholesale deportation. Out of sight, out of mind. What John Lewis has done is create a playground for hipsters of all races by shunting Atlanta’s social problems down to neighboring Clayton County. 276

Deep down, they must also know that the real reason their property values are rising is because the feds and John Lewis keep quietly shipping the troubled families and crime-blighted projects out of their increasingly valuable in-town real estate to neighboring Clayton County, which has devolved from a stable rural community to a crime-ridden hellhole with just a few years of such whole-scale deportation.

Out of sight, out of mind. ... What John Lewis has done is create a playground for hipsters of all races by shunting Atlanta’s social problems down to neighboring Clayton County.

Owens’ “276” endnote states, “Tina Trent. ‘Trump Is 100 Percent Right about Congressman John Lewis.’” Owens also quotes a separate portion of Trent's post (this time with credit) in the introduction to the chapter and cites her in endnote “273.”  

Example: Lawndale Restoration

Owens’ book contains numerous sentences taken verbatim from a 2008 Boston Globe article about Lawndale Restoration, which was Chicago’s “largest subsidized-housing.”

From Owens' book: From the Boston Globe:

Chicago’s struggles with the deterioration of its subsidized private developments reached new heights in 2006, when the federal government foreclosed on Lawndale Restoration, the city’s largest subsidized-housing complex. City inspectors found more than 1,800 code violations, including roof leaks, exposed wiring, and pools of sewage.

Lawndale Restoration was a collection of more than 1,200 apartments in ninety-seven buildings spread across three-hundred blocks of west Chicago. It was owned by a company controlled by Cecil Butler, a former civil rights activist, wealthy Obama friend, and political contributor, who came to be reviled as a slumlord by a younger generation of activists. President and CEO of The Habitat Company, Valerie Jarrett, managed Lawndale Restoration from 2000 until the federal government seized it in 2006.

Lawndale Restoration was created in the early 1980s, when the federal government helped Butler take control of a group of old buildings, including lending twenty-two million dollars to his company to redevelop the buildings and agreeing to subsidize tenant rents. In 1995, Butler’s company obtained a fifty-one million dollar loan from the state to fund additional renovations at Lawndale Restoration.

Nonetheless, the buildings deteriorated. The problems came to public attention in a dramatic way in 2004, after a sport utility vehicle driven by a suburban woman trying to buy drugs struck one of the buildings, causing it to collapse. City inspectors arrived in the ensuing glare, finding a long list of code violations, leading city officials to urge the federal government to seize the complex.

Amid the uproar, a small group of Lawndale residents gathered to rally against the Democratic candidate for the US Senate, Barack Obama. Paul Johnson, who helped to organize the protest, said Obama must have known about the problems. “How didn’t he know? Of course he knew. He just didn’t care.”

Chicago's struggles with the deterioration of its subsidized private developments seemed to reach a new height in 2006, when the federal government foreclosed on Lawndale Restoration, the city's largest subsidized-housing complex. City inspectors found more than 1,800 code violations, including roof leaks, exposed wiring, and pools of sewage.

Lawndale Restoration was a collection of more than 1,200 apartments in 97 buildings spread across 300 blocks of west Chicago. It was owned by a company controlled by Cecil Butler, a former civil rights activist who came to be reviled as a slumlord by a younger generation of activists.

Lawndale Restoration was created in the early 1980s, when the federal government helped Butler take control of a group of old buildings, including lending $22 million to his company to redevelop the buildings and agreeing to subsidize tenant rents. In 1995, Butler's company got a $51 million loan from the state to fund additional renovations at Lawndale Restoration. In 2000 Butler's company brought in Habitat Co. to help manage the complex.

Nonetheless, the buildings deteriorated badly. The problems came to public attention in a dramatic way in 2004, after a sport utility vehicle driven by a suburban woman trying to buy drugs struck one of the buildings, causing it to collapse. City inspectors arrived in the ensuing glare, finding a long list of code violations, leading city officials to urge the federal government to seize the complex.

In the midst of the uproar, a small group of Lawndale residents gathered to rally against the Democratic candidate for the US Senate, Barack Obama.

...

Paul Johnson, who helped to organize the protest, said Obama must have known about the problems.

“How didn't he know?” said Johnson. “Of course he knew. He just didn't care.”

An endnote (“333”) cited several paragraphs before those passages states, “Globe staff. ‘Grim Proving Ground for Obama’s Housing Policy.’ The Boston Globe. June 27, 2008, sec. Nation. archive.boston.com/ news/ nation/ articles/ 2008/ 06/ 27/ grim_proving_ground_for_obamas_housing_policy.” Owens also cited the Globe in paragraphs prior to the quoted plagiarized text. 

Notes: Media Matters examined both the Kindle and paperback versions of Why I Stand. Text and screenshots were taken from the Kindle version.