SPECIAL TO HISTORIC CITY NEWS
Thanks to Public Broadcasting, Historic City News can offer a free online collection and first look into post war America. Here is the new, four-hour documentary series that will tell the full story of this misrepresented and misunderstood chapter of American history.
The aftermath of the Civil War was bewildering, exhilarating . . . and terrifying.
African Americans had played a crucial role in saving the Union and now, as the country grappled with the terms and implications of Reconstruction, they struggled to breathe life into their hard-won freedom.
The result was a second American Revolution.
Post-Civil War America was a new world. For African Americans living in the former Confederacy, Reconstruction was what historian W. E. B. DuBois once described as the “brief moment in the sun.”
Support for the social, economic, and political gains they achieved didn’t last long. A controversial presidential election in 1876 deals Reconstruction a grievous blow.
Hour three of the series examines the years 1877-1896, a transitional period that saw visions of a “New South” set the stage for the rise of Jim Crow and the undermining of Reconstruction’s legal and political legacy.
While some African Americans attempted to migrate, the vast majority remained in the South, where sharecropping, convict leasing, disfranchisement, and lynching drew a “color line”.
The turn of the century is known as the ‘nadir’ of race relations, when white supremacy was ascendant and African Americans faced both physical and psychological oppression.
Racist imagery saturated popular culture and Southern propaganda manipulated the story of the Civil War and Reconstruction. But African Americans found ways to fight back, using artistic expression to put forward a “New Negro”.