Reconstruction: America After the Civil War explores the transformative years following the American Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss, massive destruction, and revolutionary social change. The twelve years that composed the post-war Reconstruction era (1865-77) witnessed a seismic shift in the meaning and makeup of our democracy.
Tonight on PBS, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. tells the real story of Reconstruction. In a searing new documentary, American’s master historian explores the post-Civil War years, which held such promise and such disappointment for meaningful racial justice. In the two part, four hour documentary, Prof. Gates reveals the true story of Reconstruction and the lessons it teaches us as we work toward social justice in our own times. Watch it on DPTV (56.1) Tuesday, April 9 and 16, at 9 p.m.
Details from Detroit Public Television:
Reconstruction is one of the most important and consequential chapters in American history. It is also among the most overlooked, misunderstood and misrepresented.
In his new four-hour documentary, “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War,” esteemed historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr. continues his tradition of producing sophisticated documentaries about the African-American experience by taking a broad view of the Reconstruction era and its aftermath, beginning with the moment of emancipation in 1865 and carrying through to 1915, when the nation was fully entrenched in Jim Crow segregation.
He presents this information in a new four-hour documentary series broken into two parts, which will be aired on Detroit Public TV (56.1) on consecutive Tuesdays, April 9 and 16, at 9 p.m. – right after “Finding Your Roots.”
The first part of the series centers on the pivotal and experimental 12 years following the Civil War, charting black progress and highlighting the accomplishments of the many political leaders who emerged to usher their communities into this new era of freedom.
The series’ second half looks beyond that hopeful decade, when the arc of history bent backwards. It became increasingly clear that many white people in the South were not willingly to accept this new social order and that the federal government was not prepared to provide African Americans with consistent or enduring protection of their new rights.
Prof. Gates points out many of the most well-known narratives of the period include demeaning stereotypes of black people and skewed versions of events that have been immortalized in films from “Birth of a Nation” to “Gone with the Wind.” This new series tells the real story of Reconstruction, honoring the struggle of the African Americans who fought their way out of slavery and challenged the nation to live up to the founding ideals of democracy, freedom and equality. Over a hundred and fifty years later, this struggle continues.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic and institution builder, Prof. Gates has authored or co-authored 24 books, created 20 documentary films and hosts “Finding Your Roots,” his groundbreaking genealogy series now in its fifth season on PBS.
Please join Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he reveals the true story of Reconstruction and the lessons it teaches us as we work toward social justice in our own times.