Reconstruction: America After the Civil War

Reconstruction: America After the Civil War

Sat, 06/26/2021 - 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., executive producer and host of Reconstruction: America After the Civil War, and Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, walk through the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL.

Credit: Courtesy of McGee Media

Don't miss parts 3 and 4 of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. series that presents the definitive history of the transformative years following the American Civil War.

Reconstruction: America After the Civil War, a four-hour documentary produced and hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., concluded with parts 3 and 4 at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 26 on WXXI-TV. The documentary continues a very important conversation about race in America today, and the history that brought us here.  Henry Louis Gates, Jr. weaves this story together in a compelling narrative that brings a sense of urgency to understanding our national story,” said Rockefeller. “We are thrilled to present this documentary to public television audiences and look forward to the dialogue it invites.”

Reconstruction: America After the Civil War includes interviews from leading historians, authors and other experts, including:

  • David W. Blight, Ph.D., author and Class of 1954 Professor of American History, and Director, Gilder Lehrman Center, Yale University:
  • Congressman James E. Clyburn, U.S. House of Representatives, South Carolina 6th District;
  • Jelani Cobb, a staff writer for The New Yorker and The Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism, Columbia University;
  • Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, an American civil rights advocate and Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, and Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  • Eric Foner, Ph.D., the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University, and author of Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution;
  • Edna Greene Medford, author, and Professor and Former Chair, Department of History, Howard University;
  • Mitch Landrieu, the former Mayor of New Orleans;
  • and Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, the nonprofit legal advocacy group that created the National Memorial for Peace & Justice in Montgomery, AL.

The film takes a broad view of the Reconstruction era and its aftermath, beginning with the hopeful moment of war’s end and emancipation in 1865, and carrying through to 1915, when the nation was fully entrenched in Jim Crow segregation. In the aftermath of the Civil War, the nation was devastated by death and destruction. Members of the U.S. Congress endeavored to reunite North and South while granting citizenship rights to newly freed African Americans. Millions of former slaves and free black people sought out their rightful place as equal citizens under the law. The dream of an interracial democracy was brief, and the broken promises of the Reconstruction era haunt the country to this day. Though tragically short-lived, this bold democratic experiment was, in the words of W. E. B. Du Bois, a “brief moment in the sun” for African Americans, when they could advance and achieve education, exercise their right to vote, and run for and win public office.