Inside Look | Reconstruction: America After the Civil War | PBS

(dramatic music) – Abraham Lincoln
freed the slaves. It turns out that wasn’t
the end of the story. It was just the beginning. (dramatic music) This series is about the
period called Reconstruction, between 1865 and 1877 when families divided by
slavery were reunited. There was tremendous African
American institution building. Churches, schools. The freed people
valued education and pursued it like their
lives depended upon it. – The story of Reconstruction, it’s generally not
known, it’s not told, and when you don’t know it, you don’t understand
America today. – Black men from 10 of the
former Confederate states are given the right to
vote, and they voted. – More than 1,500
black officials move into positions
of public leadership. Then you ssee all of these
black people in charge. – It was enormously
transformative for a very short period of time. That tremendous transformation
caused a tremendous backlash. – Just because Lee
surrendered at Appomattox didn’t mean the
people in the South would surrender to negro rule. They did not. Ku Klux Klan was
born in 1865 and 1866 and they used terrorism right
away against black voters. – There’s so many ways that
the story of Reconstruction is foundational to
understanding today’s politics. The struggle for racial
equality was a national crisis during Reconstruction
and, for many people, it’s a national crisis today. – We want to change
the narrative of the history of race
and race relations following the Civil War. We want to tell the truth
in all of its complexity of America after the Civil War. (dramatic music)

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