The Road was Rugged and Full of Thorns: Learning to Live Free

Posted by Audrey Davis on

Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, discusses the transitions newly freed slaves had to make, including education, finding work, discovering their new rights, and learning to maneuver within society.

Read More

Contraband: The Ownership and Division of Human Beings

Posted by Kenyatta D. Berry on

Genealogist Kenyatta D. Berry looks at how the term "Contraband" came to be, and the hardship, and sometimes impossibility, of marriage during slavery.

Read More

Charlotte Jenkins is the Metaphorical Balm in Gilead

Last Updated by Audrey Davis on

Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, discusses the significance of a new character in Season 2, Charlotte Jenkins, based off of the historic figure Harriet Jacobs.

Read More

Singing in Slavery: Songs of Survival, Songs of Freedom

Last Updated by Kenyatta D. Berry on

Genealogist Kenyatta D. Berry examines how song was used by slaves to both communicate and express feeling in the moment, as well as and pass history down through generations.

Read More

Mercy Street Cast Pays Tribute to History

Last Updated by Mercy Street Editor on

Get another sneak peek at Season 2 with the cast's recreation of an iconic 1862 contraband camp photo.

Read More

A House Divided

Last Updated by Audrey Davis on

For the last Season 1 blog post, Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, discusses the importance of family and its impact on the contraband community.

Read More

Facts and Glossary: Alexandria's African American History

Last Updated by Audrey Davis on

This fact sheet and glossary is meant to point the viewer to important dates and places with emphasis on Alexandria's African American history.

Read More

Samuel Diggs and Vigilante “Justice”

Last Updated by Executive Producer Lisa Q. Wolfinger on

In this guest blog post Co-Creator and Executive Producer Lisa Q. Wolfinger illustrates her team's writing process behind the Samuel Diggs' story arc in Episode 5.

Read More

On Freedom, Bondage and Rape

Last Updated by Executive Producer Lisa Q. Wolfinger on

In this guest blog post, Co-Creator and Executive Producer Lisa Q. Wolfinger details her team's decision to create three distinct African American characters in an effort to capture the complexity of the African American experience during the Civil War. She also shares her team's choice to not gloss over the misery of Aurelia’s plight.

Read More

Samuel Diggs: “Free” but not Equal

Last Updated by Audrey Davis on

In this post, Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, discusses the extreme brutality that was always a part of slave culture.

Read More

Sisterhood

Posted by Audrey Davis on

In this post, Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, dives deeper into women’s roles and sisterhood, as seen especially in Episodes 3 and 4, where women are seen supporting each other through difficult times.

Read More

Miles at a Crossroads

Last Updated by Audrey Davis on

In this post, Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum in Alexandria, Virginia, dives deeper into the lives of enslaved children.

Read More

For Freedom and Family

Last Updated by Anya Jabour on

In this blog post, Anya Jabour, Ph.D. provides historical background on the "contrabands" of the Civil War South.

Read More

The Bull on Mr. Bullen

Posted by Jane Schultz on

Jane E. Schultz, Ph.D., is Professor of English and the Medical Humanities and Director of Literature at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis. In this blog post, Schultz takes a closer look at Mansion House Hospital steward Silas Bullen and real-life stewards during the Civil War, and also provides context to what women of color experienced in this era.

Read More

Becoming "Contrabands"

Last Updated by Audrey Davis on

In this blog post, Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, explores the history behind the African American "contrabands" of the 1860s.

Read More

Streaming on:

Your purchase supports PBS and helps make our programming possible.

Support your local PBS station

PBS Learning Media