Reconstruction

Ellen disguised herself as a sickly white man, while William played the part of her enslaved valet.

Follow a Couple's Daring Escape From Slavery in the Antebellum South

A new short film from SCAD chronicles the lives of Ellen and William Craft, who disguised themselves to find freedom in 1848

Through the Freedmen's Bureau, formerly enslaved people were able to obtain formal legal recognition of their marriages.

Innovation for Good

Newly Digitized Freedmen's Bureau Records Help Black Americans Trace Their Ancestry

Genealogists, historians and researchers can now peruse more than 3.5 million documents from the Reconstruction-era agency

An eight-foot-wide model of the intact monument was placed in an acoustics-testing chamber. Researchers found that sounds emanating from near the center reverberated within the structure.

What Did Stonehenge Sound Like?

Researchers have developed a new understanding of what it meant to be a member of the inner circle

Organizer Quintavious Rhodes addresses Black Lives Matter protesters during a march in Stone Mountain Park on June 16, 2020. Activists have long called for Stone Mountain's carved relief of Confederate generals to be taken down.

History of Now

Georgia Approves Changes to Stone Mountain Park, 'Shrine to White Supremacy'

The site's board authorized the creation of a truth-telling exhibit, a new logo and a relocated Confederate flag plaza

Many contemporaries argued that Black men had more than earned the right to vote through their military service in the Civil War.

Smithsonian Voices

How the Unresolved Debate Over Black Male Suffrage Shaped the Presidential Election of 1868

At the height of the Reconstruction, the pressing issue was Black male suffrage

For generations, Americans have sought to understand the sense of shared destiny—or perhaps, civic obligation—that forged the nation.

The Pitfalls and Promise of America's Founding Myths

Maintaining a shared sense of nationhood has always been a struggle for a country defined not by organic ties, but by a commitment to a set of ideals

A group of freed African American men along a wharf during the Civil War.

How to Tell 400 Years of Black History in One Book

From 1619 to 2019, this collection of essays, edited by two of the nation's preeminent scholars, shows the depth and breadth of African American history

Rainey’s “polite and dignified bearing enforces respect,” an 1871 newspaper report said before disparaging him as unequal to the “best men of the House.”

Meet Joseph Rainey, the First Black Congressman

Born enslaved, he was elected to Congress in the wake of the Civil War. But the impact of this momentous step in U.S. race relationships did not last long

An oil-cloth cape worn by a young Republican during a late-night, torch-lit campaign march ahead of the 1880 presidential election.

When Young Americans Marched for Democracy Wearing Capes

In 1880, a new generation helped decide the closest popular vote in U.S. history

President Lyndon B. Johnson shakes hands with Martin Luther King Jr. at the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Race in America

The Outsized Role of the President in Race Relations

A new podcast series explores how the presidency has shaped the nation's approach to pursuing racial justice

Raphael's famed Uffizi self-portrait and the new facial reconstruction

3-D Facial Reconstruction Suggests Raphael Self-Portrait Presents Idealized Version of the Artist

The new model reveals the Renaissance giant's prominent nose

As the South rewrote of the history of the war and reaffirmed a dormant white supremacist ideology, the North’s printmakers, publishers and image makers operated right beside them.

How Northern Publishers Cashed In on Fundraising for Confederate Monuments

In the years after the Civil War, printmakers in New York and elsewhere abetted the Lost Cause movement by selling images of false idols

A cartoon by illustrator Thomas Nast shows a member of the White League and a member of the Ku Klux Klan joining hands over a terrorized black family.

Created 150 Years Ago, the Justice Department’s First Mission Was to Protect Black Rights

In the wake of the Civil War, the government’s new force sought to enshrine equality under the law

Colorized photographs bring a 21st-century approach to the 19th-century technology that changed how Americans understood war.

A New Civil War Museum Speaks Truths in the Former Capital of the Confederacy

Against the odds, historian Christy Coleman merged two Richmond institutions, forging a new approach to reconciling with the nation's bloody past

Why We Need a New Civil War Documentary

The success and brilliance of the new PBS series on Reconstruction is a reminder of the missed opportunity facing the nation

Volunteers in southwest Germany are using ninth-century techniques to construct the medieval monastery.

The World's Weirdest Architectural Feat Involves Building a Cathedral With Ninth-Century Tools

In a German forest, artisans fleeing modernity build a time machine to the medieval age

The Emily Howland photo album containing the portrait of Tubman, (above: detail, ca. 1868) was unveiled this week at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

A Previously Unknown Portrait of a Young Harriet Tubman Goes on View

"I was stunned," says director Lonnie Bunch; historic Emily Howland photo album contains dozens of other abolitionists and leaders who took an active role

A picture taken on March 18, 2018 of the ruins of the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul

With Cornerstone Set, Mosul's Landmark al-Nuri Mosque Begins Rebuilding Process

The start of physical reconstruction of the historic mosque and its iconic leaning minaret was marked in a ceremony on Sunday

3D printed model of Pumapunku

Archaeologist Reconstructs Ruins of Tiwanaku Temple in Bolivia Using 3-D Printing Technology

It was like an ‘elaborate lego set,’ says UC Berkeley's Alexei Vranich

Close up on Atlanta University's "City and Rural Population. 1890" data visualization

Document Deep Dive

W.E.B. Du Bois’ Visionary Infographics Come Together for the First Time in Full Color

His pioneering team of black sociologists created data visualizations that explained institutionalized racism to the world

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