American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

Land and Labor in the Era of Reconstruction

Published April 28, 2009

Martha Hodes, New York University
“Land and Labor in the Era of Reconstruction: Conflict, Compromise, Violence”
The Graduate Center, CUNY
February 15, 2007

Historian Martha Hodes explores the many meanings of freedom that emerged at the end of the Civil War. Although the war was over, new conflict erupted between freed slaves and former slave owners over what form emancipation would take. Freedpeople viewed land ownership as essential to their independence, while former slave owners sought to establish a new system of rural wage labor. This essential struggle would shape the fate of Reconstruction. In this podcast, Martha Hodes speaks to New York City teachers about how to present the era of Reconstruction in the classroom, and provides a close reading of testimony from the 1871 Congressional Investigation into Ku Klux Klan violence and discusses its impact on teaching Reconstruction.

1871 Congressional Testimony Excerpt:

Testimony about Klan violence, U.S. Congress, 1871

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