American Experience
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An Independent Black Community: Tunis Campbell's black settlement establishes schools and bans whites from the island.
Introduction: After a bloody Civil War, Americans fight about how to rebuild the nation. Chaos: Southern planters and liberated slaves are thrown into chaos as Union victory nears. Revolution on the Land: The Federal government allots abandoned plantation acreage to freed slaves as Southern whites face defeat. Uncertainty: After President Lincoln's assassination, Andrew Johnson takes office amid deep uncertainty. Cultivating Liberty: Activist Tunis Campbell and former slaves start self-sufficient lives in Georgia. Freedmen's Bureau Agent: Union veteran Marshall Twitchell moves to an isolated, battle-hardened Confederate district. 'White Men Alone': President Johnson plans to restore the Union quickly with few changes to the social order. An Independent Black Community: Tunis Campbell's black settlement establishes schools and bans whites from the island. Losses and Reconciliation: As Southerners return home to catastrophic losses, the president pardons planters and returns their lands. Slavery Without the Chain: To rebuild their cotton economy, Southern whites force black submission. Opportunity: Yankee Marshall Twitchell and Southerner Adele Coleman marry, over her family's objections. War in Congress: Deep rifts divide Washington as Congress passes the first law to protect civil rights. Radical Reconstruction: Shocked by Southern violence, Northerners support military governance and black suffrage. Citizens at Last: White Southerners' sense of injustice and fear of vengeance grow as black men obtain the vote. Credits Introduction: As Abraham Lincoln warned, Reconstruction is a task 'fraught with great difficulty.' Interracial Democracy: Black suffrage is imposed in the South, though blacks cannot vote in many Northern states. Sharecropping: Landowner Fan Butler negotiates new labor arrangements with her former slaves. Carpetbagger: Southerners start to view Northerners like Marshall Twitchell with suspicion. 'Let Us Have Peace.': As racial conflicts continue, Ulysses Grant gains the presidency by promising reconciliation. The New Order of Things: Republican legislators like former slave John Lynch introduce new services -- and new taxes. War of Terror: Secret groups like the Ku Klux Klan form to attack black political power with violence. Seeking Profit: Southern whites and blacks struggle to gain political power and forge a workable economy. A New South: The Federal government cracks down on violence, and Grant's re-election promises more change. The Lost Cause: The nation loses patience for the plight of Southern blacks as whites take back power. The Coushatta Massacre: President Grant makes an unpopular decision to send troops South to suppress an insurrection. Ideals and Intimidation: Congress passes a visionary civil rights bill, but Southern vigilantes continue their violence. At War: White vigilantes in Coushatta, Louisiana try to kill Marshall Twitchell. Secret Compromise: The North abandons Reconstruction in a secret political deal. Looking Back: By 1913, Reconstruction is widely viewed as a mistake, though its progressive legacy will endure. Credits
Episode 1 Episode 2

NARRATOR
On St. Catherine's Island, Tunis Campbell's township was flourishing. Three hundred and sixty-nine settlers occupied fifty-four slave dwellings, left from the old days. They grew fruits and vegetables of all kinds. But what they wanted were schools. "There is one sin that slavery committed against me that I will never forgive," remembered one man. "It robbed me of my education."

WALKER
Before the Civil War, maybe no more than ten, fifteen percent of the black population of the South was literate. To learn how to read was a revolutionary act. They understood that it was necessary if they were to take their place as freed people within the Union, that they have the rudiments of education to survive.

NARRATOR
After the war, freedmen who had secretly educated themselves quickly opened schools in warehouses, on barges, even in old slave markets. And the Freedmen's Bureau and Northern missionaries built thousands more throughout the South. At St. Catherine's, Campbell used his own savings to bring teachers down from the North. Then he called on his wife, Harriet, in New York.

DUNCAN
He writes a letter to Harriet, says, "Bring the sons down. We're going to establish the schools. We're on an island of our own. There are no white people here and we're going to lift up children. Bring all the primers you have, and please join us." This is the first time he's seen his wife and sons in about two years.

NARRATOR
Harriet and Tunis taught side by side with Northern teachers. Campbell reported that eighty children and adults on St Catherine's and sixty on nearby Sapelo Island were enrolled in schools. More than a thousand students attended Campbell's makeshift academies.

DUNCAN
The adults are being taught at night. They need to deal with white people more as equals. And to do that, they have to be literate.

NARRATOR
White planters watching from the mainland resented the schools and the entire settlement, not just because the land had been seized from one of their own, but because of Campbell's ambition and independence.

WALKER
People like Campbell were viewed as black people "out of their place." He can think for himself in ways that whites find hard to believe that a black person can think. This means, then, that history has somehow spun out of control.

NARRATOR
By June 1865, Jacob Waldburg, the white planter who had owned St. Catherine's, was back in Georgia. He demanded that Campbell get off his land.

DUNCAN
The planters are holding up deeds to the islands that are two hundred years old, or one hundred fifty years old. They said, "No, wait a minute. This is a nation of laws, and see, my great-granddaddy had this deed. And yours comes from a possessory title given to you in time of war for abandoned lands? How does that affect my promise of property rights under the Constitution of the United States?"

NARRATOR
Waldburg got his answer: St. Catherine's Congress passed a law forbidding any white person from setting foot on the island. Campbell's militia stood ready to enforce it.



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