04.08.2019

Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. on the Reconstruction Era

Award-winning historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. discusses what America’s forgotten Reconstruction era meant for African-Americans and why it’s still relevant today.

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WE KNOW ABOUT SLAVERY, CIVIL

WE KNOW ABOUT SLAVERY, CIVIL RIGHTS AND THE BACKLASH.

RIGHTS AND THE BACKLASH.

RIGHTS AND THE BACKLASH.

WHY RECONSTRUCTION NOW?

WHY RECONSTRUCTION NOW?

12 YEARS OF BLACK FREEDOM BETWEEN 1865 AND 1877.

FOLLOWED BY AN ALT-RIGHT ROLLBACK WITH THE PRESIDENT ROLLBACK WITH THE PRESIDENT IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE CIVIL IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE CIVIL WAR WHO REFUSED TO RENOUNCE WHITE SUPREMACY AND A CONSERVATIVE SUPREME COURT THAT DECLARED THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT OF 1875 UNCONSTITUTIONAL IN 1883.

RING ANY BELLS?

ARE YOU SAYING THERE ARE PARALLELS TODAY?

OH, MY GOODNESS.

I WOULD NEVER SAY THAT.

YES, OF COURSE.

THIS IS A MIRROR.

I BEGAN TO REALIZE IT WITH THE HORRIBLE MURDERS WHEN DYLANN ROOF MURDERED A REVEREND AND OTHER INNOCENTS AT A PRAYER MEETING.

THE REASONS HE CITED WERE ALL D TROPES, RHETORIC FROM THE WHITE SUPREMACIST MOVEMENT THAT AROSE AFTER THE CIVIL WAR IN REACTION TO RECONSTRUCTION.

2,000 BLACK MEN WERE ELECTED TO OFFICE DURING RECONSTRUCTION.

16 BLACK CONGRESSMEN INCLUDING TWO BLACK SENATORS WERE ELECTED IN THAT 12-YEAR PERIOD.

THE MAJORITY OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, MAJORITY BLACK.

THIS WAS JUST TOO MUCH TO BEAR AND THE SOUTH ROSE AGAIN.

S WITH COMPLICITY OF A CONSERVATIVE SUPREME COURT THEY ROLLED BACK ALL THE RIGHTS.

I WANT TO GET MORE DETAIL ABOUT THE ROLLBACK.

FIRST I WANT THE HISTORY OF THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THOSE WHO WERE EMANCIPATED AND HAD THEIR RIGHTS DURING RECONSTRUCTION.

WHAT WERE THEY ABLE TO DO?

MOSTLY BLACK MEN, RIGHT?

THEY WERE THE ONES GETTING THEIR RIGHTS.

IT WAS A GLORIOUS PERIOD.

IT WAS THE MOST EXCITING PERIOD IN THE HISTORY OF BLACK PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES.

BECAUSE IN 1867 BLACK MEN IN TEN OF 11 FORMER CONFEDERATE STATES BECAUSE OF THE RECONSTRUCTION MILITARY ACTS GOT THE RIGHT TO VOTE.

CHRISTIANE, 80% OF BLACK MEN ELIGIBLE TO VOTE IN THE FORMER CONFEDERACY REGISTERED TO VOTE.

80%. IN 18FU68500,000 OF THEM VOTED R GRANT WHO ONLY WON BY 300,000 VOTES.

EFFECTIVELY BLACK MEN ELECTED A WHITE MAN THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

THEY DID THE SAME THING FOR THEY DID THE SAME THING FOR GRANT IN 1872.

GRANT IN 1872.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with iconic editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour; and historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Michel Martin speaks to Mississippi author Kiese Laymon about his poignant memoir “Heavy.”

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