Reconstruction: America After The Civil War connects America's troubling present with its horrific past
The circumstances and conditions of the current social and political climate in the United States can seem dizzying, as the civil rights of citizens who are not rich, white, and male are trampled over. Rampant white supremacy has stepped out of the shadows, marching its way back into the White House, and other branches of the United States government. The truth is that racism was never truly snuffed out in our democracy, which is how it’s managed to rise to the surface once again. In his new PBS miniseries, Reconstruction: America After The Civil War, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., unpacks the seldom discussed twelve-year period just after the Civil War. As America tried to restructure itself as a country without the foundation of slavery, while grappling with the status of millions of newly freed African Americans —former slave owners also had their own agenda. They began writing a revisionist history of slavery and the Civil War while using widespread casual violence to terrorize and disenfranchise black people and sympathetic white people.
In the second decade of the 21st-century, little has changed. We have seen the horrors of the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and the massacre of nine black worshipers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina. Though shocking and nightmarish, these conditions and acts of terror are not new. In many ways, America has ignored its history or tried to revise it. But we face our past and reconcile with it, we will continue spiraling in cycles of immense progress and devastating regression.
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