The Between Civil War and Civil Rights series explores and documents how yesterday’s racialized “amusements”—and dead-serious struggles—sowed the seeds of today’s national divisions and apparent political paralysis. Hear and join our exploration of the tensions around “race” in our past—including the longest, bloodiest, most successful campaign of terrorism and propaganda in U.S. history in the 90+ year period (1865–1955)—and how it illuminates our continuing crisis, trapped between civil War, and full civil rights. This is a continuing investigation of everyday experience, of a history of surprises and shocks, terror and heroism. Join our inquiry into the struggles for equality, democracy and justice which brought us here thus far, and the attitudes, values, and cultural realities with which we live in the present, and therefore our future.

In these programs, those who lived the events tell the stories—from all sides—in their own voices and words; and leading thinkers discuss and debate their meanings. Several chapters, as noted below and broadcast on public radio stations nationwide, are unfinished. So we invite you, as listeners to and participants in this ongoing hi/story, to collaborate in bringing them to completion. We want your ideas, your memories, your creative input and your financial support, in bringing the broadest possible community to this project. Help produce programs, develop visually-enhanced multimedia versions and curriculum materials, and join the dialogue.


Series Introduction: A Work in Progress

CCFM - Revised Seal - 2015

Race relations in the United States have always been more than slavery, Emancipation, the Civil Rights Movement and the supposed arrival of a “post-racial” society. Between Civil War and Civil Rights examines the roots of today’s issues that keep us stuck, as it were, between Civil War and Civil Rights. Visit and contribute your ideas to this introductory page to help us frame our society’s—and these documentaries’—story.


How the South (or White Supremacy) Won the War (1865–1876)

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The Strange Culture of Jim Crow (circa 1877–1897)


Building new communities and co-creating U.S. American culture, in the face of brutal and sophisticated resistance.

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Democracy’s Denial: Revolutions in Wilmington (1898 and after)

The story of the only coup d’etat in U.S. history, in 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina, and its continuing effect on that community and the nation.

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Cultural Rebirth and Political Reaction (1900–1915)


Racism becomes official U.S. government policy, as ‘race’ culture takes the nation.

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White Protestant Nation (1915–1925)

From Birth of a Nation to the rebirth—and fall—of the Ku Klux Klan as a mass fraternal organization.

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Rosewood Reborn (1923 and after)

An ordinary, yet famous, race-massacre—and a unique case: the only time the State has paid “reparations” for mass racial violence. [Told by the participants and narrated by James Earl Jones]

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Depression and Hope (1925–1940)


As government reform falls short, people chip away at the racist monolith.

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Man in KKK hood and robes. U.S. capitol building can be seen in the background.

American as Apple Pie: When Terror Lost in America (1940–1955)

Nationally broadcast during Black History Month, 2003, American as Apple Pie tells the story of the organizing drives and campaigns of the 1940s and early 1950s.

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freddie-grey-protestEpilogue: Terror and “Race” Today

The generations who grew up ‘between Civil War and Civil Rights’ experienced conditions which define today’s “racial” conflicts: systemic nation-wide dispossession, disenfranchisement, mal-education, ghettoization, poverty and discrimination, AND co-created American culture as we know it. Visit this Epilogue page to reflect on today’s issues, and perhaps help us develop a final program for the series.