Seizing Freedom

The story of the end of the Civil War you’ve probably been taught is that the slaves were freed by Northern white men (and maybe a handful of famous Underground Railroad conductors). But ending slavery in America required so much more than battlefield victories or even official declarations. Seizing Freedom is the personal history of the struggle to define freedom after 400 years of slavery. You’ll hear stories of freedom taking and freedom making directly from the people who did both. Black people battled for their own freedom, taking incredible risks for a country that had actively denied their right to it. After the Civil War, Black Americans launched themselves into political careers, became newspaper magnates, entrepreneurs, Wall Street traders, and used their newfound mobility to reunite families torn apart by slavery. For twelve brief years of Reconstruction, Black Americans lay powerful claims to citizenship, dignity, and rights—despite brutal suppression. Using first-hand accounts from diaries, newspapers, letters, and speeches, this narrated docu- drama podcast will take you straight to the sources of lived experience. Through them, you’ll hear voices from American history that have been muted time and time again. These personal accounts illustrate what was at stake for the nation and reveal unsettling echoes in the fight for political and social justice of today.

Hosts

Kidada Williams