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Reconstruction : The Burning Years

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DAN GORMAN [Opening Narration]: The following program contains strong language and disturbing thematic content. Listener discretion is advised. (beat) From — — — Productions: RECONSTRUCTION: THE BURNING YEARS. (Music) D.G.: Good evening. My name is Dan Gorman. Like many of you, I didn’t learn much about Reconstruction in high school. I had a wonderful teacher who did much to show the nuances of American history, such as the effects of states’ rights and slavery on the Civil War. Still, my teacher, along with the A.P. exam, the state curriculum, and our textbooks, moved quickly past Reconstruction. I assumed that, aside from the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and some Ku Klux Klan violence, there wasn’t much else to the story, that…show more content…
Apathy, negligence, pathos – it is the stuff of Greek myth, yet in Reconstruction it all became real. The burning years of Reconstruction are ones that textbook writers, politicians, and some historians would rather pretend didn’t happen. Many good and hard-working teachers are themselves never taught about Reconstruction, so the great national forgetting of Reconstruction gets perpetuated again when those teachers enter the classroom. This is what you must know: Although the Union Army won the combat phase of the Civil War, the war didn’t end in 1865. Rather, the war continued until white supremacists regained full political control of the South in 1877. You could even say that, in the long run, the former Confederates won the Civil War. (beat) Tonight’s program fuses two genres to tell the true story of Reconstruction. This program is a documentary, based on revisionist historical research. In recent years, historians have expanded the study of Reconstruction to include the beginning of American imperialism, the settling of the West, the Indian Wars, and the creation of the reservation system. Although these topics run concurrently and cross paths with Reconstruction, tonight we will be focusing on the core region of the time period – the occupied and seriously damaged South. This program is also a drama. Actors interpret the words of those who experienced Reconstruction. Many of our
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