On Air
Open In Popup
MPR News

A historical documentary: 'The Freed People'

Share story

Abraham Lincoln at the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Abraham Lincoln at the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on Sep. 22nd, 1862.
Hulton Archive | Getty Images

On Abraham Lincoln's birthday, a documentary from the Humankind series:

Part 1: "The United States faced an unprecedented refugee crisis a century and a half ago: 4 million slaves were emancipated, primarily from plantations where they'd been held captive. In the chaos following the bloody Civil War, where would they go?"

Part 2: "How would the freed slaves reunite with loved ones who may have been sold to a distant owner and never heard from again? How would people who'd been abused — sometimes savagely — and cheated out of compensation for their labors, now make the transition to a free life?"

"The Freed People" features historians and the voices of former slaves themselves. 

David Freudberg is executive producer of the Humankind series, in association with WGBH Boston. 

You can buy a CD or listen to a podcast at Humanmedia.org.

Listen to the documentary by clicking the audio player above.