These materials accompany Ancestry’s extensive collection on the period of Reconstruction, and America’s history of enslavement.
In the wake of the Civil War, Americans were faced with the challenge of rebuilding a society that had been divided by slavery and the political upheaval of war. The study of this period in American history is essential to the understanding of citizenship and democracy in the United States today.
These resources introduce a rigorous study of the Reconstruction era into American history classrooms and includes interviews with scholars of the Reconstruction era who provide insight into this complex history and address questions of freedom, justice, equality, and citizenship that are at the heart of Reconstruction.
We also recommend resources that help educators and students explore the notion of race — a complex and evolving idea that underlies much of this history. Additionally, we offer a selection of professional learning resources that can help teachers address these topics with the thoughtful and sensitive approach they demand.
Lessons and Videos
7 lessons exploring the history of the Reconstruction era using engaging videos that feature scholars and primary sources.
This 3-part documentary film explores the history of the idea of race and its to the development of slavery in the Americas.
Philosopher Anthony Appiah discusses modern and historical concepts of race.
Read about the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scientists who tried to prove that humankind is divided into separate and unequal races.
Read an excerpt from the transcript of the Savannah Colloquy, a meeting between Union officials and Savannah's Black community in January 1865.
This 2-part webinar explores a framework for having rigorous, nuanced, and identity-safe conversations about race. Participants leave with a greater sense of agency and efficacy around discussing race in the classroom. Requires free registration.
This webinar introduces a new approach to teaching students about the Reconstruction Era and helps them connect this history to their own lives and the choices they make today.
In this classroom video, a high school history teacher leads a classroom discussion that explores the meaning of freedom to formerly enslaved people during Reconstruction.