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). What's missing? The story of how Black Americans risked their lives to fight for their own visions of what freedom could be—struggling for their dignity in the face of horrific violence. Seizing Freedom tells the stories of these unsung American heroes.
Seizing Freedom

Seizing Freedom

From VPM

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). What's missing? The story of how Black Americans risked their lives to fight for their own visions of what freedom could be—struggling for their dignity in the face of horrific violence. Seizing Freedom tells the stories of these unsung American heroes.

Most Recent Episodes

Selling the Shadow to Support the Substance

Interview with photography professor Deborah Willis about the power of photography during the Civil War era, and the stories images can reveal to us about the lives Black people led and wanted future generations to understand. Support the show: https://www.pledgecart.org/pledgeCart3/?campaign=9D88F97A-621A-46C0-98FA-3BC3199AE799&source=#/home See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Reconstructing Family

How freed people sought out their kin following emancipation, and how they worked to establish new lives with their kin, pushing for recognition in the eyes of the law. Support the show: https://www.pledgecart.org/pledgeCart3/?campaign=9D88F97A-621A-46C0-98FA-3BC3199AE799&source=#/home See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Interview: Abigail Cooper

Conversation with Abigail Cooper about the communities that Black people established in Civil War refugee camps, how they celebrated their African traditions and how they had to adapt to survive in the American patriarchy. Support the show: https://www.pledgecart.org/pledgeCart3/?campaign=9D88F97A-621A-46C0-98FA-3BC3199AE799&source=#/home See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

A Bedrock For Freedom

How freedom wasn't as clear-cut as wartime refugees from slavery expected, and how— despite terrible conditions in many camps—Black people's desire for self-determination kept them going. Support the show: https://www.pledgecart.org/pledgeCart3/?campaign=9D88F97A-621A-46C0-98FA-3BC3199AE799&source=#/home See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Interview: Crystal Feimster

Interview with historian Crystal Feimster about the importance of digging into archives and disrupting the myth that the Civil War and Reconstruction are histories that belong to white men. Support the show: https://www.pledgecart.org/pledgeCart3/?campaign=9D88F97A-621A-46C0-98FA-3BC3199AE799&source=#/home See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Intro: Time For A New Story

If you've heard stories about Reconstruction, you've probably heard that it failed. And sure, some parts of Reconstruction did fail—but not because Black people didn't claim their freedom. Support the show: https://www.pledgecart.org/pledgeCart3/?campaign=9D88F97A-621A-46C0-98FA-3BC3199AE799&source=#/home See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

A Powerful Black Hand

How Black men and women fought to participate in the war against slavery, and how the Union's decision to allow them to enlist shifted the tide of the Civil War. Support the show: https://www.pledgecart.org/pledgeCart3/?campaign=9D88F97A-621A-46C0-98FA-3BC3199AE799&source=#/home See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Spotlight: Susie King Taylor

A deeper look into the life of Susie King Taylor, who pursued her vision of freedom for herself, her family and for future generations. Support the show: https://www.pledgecart.org/pledgeCart3/?campaign=9D88F97A-621A-46C0-98FA-3BC3199AE799&source=#/home See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Spotlight: Cyntha Nickols

African Americans had to go to extraordinary lengths in order to be reunited with their families after emancipation, including this grandmother's struggle to gain custody of her grandson. Support the show: https://www.pledgecart.org/pledgeCart3/?campaign=9D88F97A-621A-46C0-98FA-3BC3199AE799&source=#/home See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Spotlight: Ambrose Headen

Follow the incredible journey of Ambrose Headen, a man born into slavery who eventually played a pivotal role in founding one of the nation's first Black colleges. Support the show: https://www.pledgecart.org/pledgeCart3/?campaign=9D88F97A-621A-46C0-98FA-3BC3199AE799&source=#/home See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Back To Top