Reconstruction: America After the Civil War

Watch Reconstruction: America After the Civil War

  • 2019
  • 1 Season
  • 8.2  (224)

Reconstruction: America After the Civil War is a four-part documentary series created by PBS in 2019. The show, hosted by renowned historian and Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr, explores the aftermath of the Civil War and the period of Reconstruction that followed.

The series takes a deep dive into the United States during this tumultuous era, examining the social, political, and economic conditions that shaped the nation during Reconstruction. Drawing on a rich collection of primary sources, including letters, speeches, and diaries, the series offers a comprehensive overview of this pivotal moment in American history.

The first episode, titled "The Second Civil War," sets the stage for the story of Reconstruction. It begins with the end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, which threw the nation into chaos. Gates examines the efforts of Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson, to implement his own vision of Reconstruction, which was marked by racism, violence, and oppression.

The second episode, "Making a New America," explores the ways in which African Americans sought to build new lives for themselves after the war. Despite the political and social upheaval of the period, many black Americans sought to create their own communities and institutions, often with the help of Northern philanthropists and other supporters.

The third episode, "Promise Betrayed," examines the ways in which Reconstruction was ultimately thwarted by white supremacists who sought to reassert their dominance over the South. The rise of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups, combined with the failures of the federal government to protect black citizens, led to a period of violent repression that would last for decades.

The final episode, "A New Birth of Freedom," offers a hopeful vision of the future, despite the setbacks of the Reconstruction era. The episode explores the ways in which African Americans continued to struggle for freedom and equality, even in the face of widespread racism and discrimination. It also examines the legacy of Reconstruction, and the ways in which this period of history continues to shape the United States today.

Throughout the four-part series, Henry Louis Gates Jr. provides insightful commentary and analysis, drawing on his extensive knowledge of American history and his experience as a scholar and educator. The series also features a range of expert guest commentators, including historians, writers, and activists, who offer a diverse range of perspectives on the events of the era.

Overall, Reconstruction: America After the Civil War is an engaging and informative series that sheds light on a little-discussed period of American history. Through its thoughtful and nuanced exploration of this complex era, the series offers a fresh perspective on the ways in which the legacy of slavery and racism continue to impact the United States today.

Reconstruction: America After the Civil War is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (4 episodes). The series first aired on April 9, 2019.

Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
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Episode 4
4. Episode 4
April 16, 2019
See African Americans in the 1900s using artistic expression against revisionist history and racism.
Episode 3
3. Episode 3
April 16, 2019
Explore the rise of Jim Crow and the undermining of Reconstruction's legal and political legacy.
Episode 2
2. Episode 2
April 16, 2019
Conclusion. The rise of Jim Crow during the years of 1877-1896 is recalled. Southern sharecropping, convict leasing, disfranchisement and lynchings drew a "color line" limiting opportunities and destroying lives. Also: How, as America entered the 1900s, Southern propaganda manipulated the story of the Civil War and racist imagery saturated popular culture. African Americans fought back using artistic expression to put forward a "New Negro" for a new century.
Episode 1
1. Episode 1
April 9, 2019
Part 1 of 2. Henry Louis Gates Jr. presents the history of the years after the American Civil War. First up: African Americans grapple with the terms and implications of Reconstruction and their hard-won freedom; and the 1876 presidential election deals Reconstruction a blow as the forces of white supremacy ascend.
Where to Watch Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
Reconstruction: America After the Civil War is available for streaming on the PBS website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Reconstruction: America After the Civil War on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon, Apple TV, PBS and Pluto TV.
  • Premiere Date
    April 9, 2019
  • IMDB Rating
    8.2  (224)