The painful process of Reconstruction throughout the American South after the U.S. Civil War is one of the most poorly understood events of 19th century American history, and this fine website produced by WGBH (to complement the documentary released as part of the American Experience series) for PBS explores many of the complex themes of this period. The materials on the site are divided into ten thematic areas, each concerned with compelling topics that include explorations of the lives of Southern women, the transformation of former slaves into sharecroppers, and the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan. Each one of these self-contained sections features a mini-documentary for viewer consideration, a selection of primary sources (such as eye-witness testimonies and legislative documents), and question and answer sessions with prominent historians about each respective topic. Along with a number of resources for teachers, the site also contains an interactive map of the United States in 1870, from which visitors can learn how each state was affected by both the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
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