Reconstruction: America after the Civil War

This is an awesome documentary showing the failures of reconstruction after the Civil War and the cliff that black Americans were pushed over when it was decided that it was too much to continue to bother with ensuring equality for ALL LIVES (even the black ones!)

At one point shortly after the Civil War there were dozens of black elected officials all over the country and they were mocked in cartoonish fashion in the press. Powerful elites who did not like seeing so many black Americans gain power used the press to present the situation as if savages had gained control over our ruling bodies. The cartoons depicted subhuman caricatures like a pack of apes slinging poo in the halls of our government.

In reality many of these black men and women were far more refined than their average white counterpart. They had to be. They’d just recently been considered slaves. Often you will find that the lengths to which black Americans went at the time to prove their worth are a little outlandish. That’s where we get some of our modern caricatures of the “learned black man” who speaks more like a master of poetry than an average person.

They had to be ultimate scholars, consummate businessmen, or impeccable leaders of their community to get any power at all. They took pride in improving not just themselves, there was a common belief that they were improving themselves to prove the worth of their race to an American citizenry that had up until then treated them as nothing more than disposable labor because of it.

Please do take the time to watch this 4 part series! 😃

https://www.pbs.org/weta/reconstruction/episodes/hour-one/

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