S4 E4: The Second Revolution

February 19, 2020

After the Civil War, a surprising coalition tried to remake the United States into a real multiracial democracy for the first time. Reconstruction, as the effort was called, brought dramatic change to America. For a while.

Reported and produced by John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. The series script editor is Loretta Williams. Interviews with Victoria Smalls, Brent Morris, Eric Foner, Kidada Williams, Bobby Donaldson, and Edward Baptist.

Music by Algiers, John Erik Kaada, Eric Neveux, and Lucas Biewen. Music consulting and production help from Joe Augustine of Narrative Music. 

Photo: Historian Bobby Donaldson of the University of South Carolina, at the South Carolina State House, Columbia, SC. Photo by John Biewen.


Download a transcript of the episode.

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3 comments on “S4 E4: The Second Revolution

  1. Jacqueline Byrnes Feb 21, 2020

    I am angry that I have been educated in the USA but seem to know nothing about our history. So many of these things I did not know. I have a masters degree and feel like I am well informed but truly I am ignorant. Thanks for providing me with a different view point. I will have to listen to this over and and over!!
    By the way, I have felt this way with all seasons that I have listened to. I replay all of them regularly and share them with everyone I know.

    • David Machemer Mar 4, 2020

      I am forced to conclude that the vast and nearly universal historical illiteracy in this country is no accident. When our history is as DARK as this nation’s, the flag wavers will inevitably attempt to suppress it.

  2. J Parry Nov 16, 2020

    I’m in my 70’s. I was educated in CT at a public school, considered to be a good one. And, I’m almost embarrassed to add, my mother taught US History! I have reached this age being woefully ignorant of our real history. And, angry as well. But, thanks to a great community college professor and access to books and programs like yours, I’m finally learning more about the political road from 1619 to today. Listening to what’s playing out in Georgia with2020 election results and the way the Republicans in various states have been disenfranchising voters, show how fighting for equal rights remains a huge challenge. Thank you all so much for helping me learn! We have truly been “whitewashed.” Shame on our Educators.