American History Mondays with Dr. Richard Bell: Reconstruction Era

American History Mondays with Dr. Richard Bell: Reconstruction Era


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Who made America? This series of talks led by University of Maryland historian Dr. Richard Bell is designed to allow you to dip in and out depending on your interests. It examines how three peoples—Europeans, Natives, and Africans—encountered each other in North America and, through conflict and cooperation, created what became the United States. Together, these lectures provide a great primer on almost every aspect of early American history prior to 1877. But they’re designed as stand-alone offerings, so come on out for whichever topics spark your imagination.

To learn more about this series and view past and future events, click here.

This program contains some short interactive elements.

In this, the final Conversation in this series, we’ll look at how Americans tried to heal the wounds of the Civil War in a series of reforms enacted between 1865 and 1877 known as Reconstruction. To accomplish this great leap forward, they rewrote dozens of laws and thrice amended the Constitution of the United States to guarantee the extension of the full rights of citizenship to African Americans. And it wasn’t just Black political participation that flourished during Reconstruction—so too did Black schools, Black churches, and various other Black-led institutions. We’ll spend today examining these dozen hopeful years and conclude by looking at how and why most of these leaps forward were swept away in the mid-1870s, only a decade after the end of the war – leaving unfinished business.

Dr. Richard Bell is a Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and has won more than a dozen teaching awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar Award. Professor Bell is the author of the new book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home, which was shortlisted for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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