Post #25: Many Rivers to Cross

I enjoyed this film greatly as a window into the African American experience during the Civil War and Reconstruction. While Death and the Civil War film focused more on the soldier and family perspective, Many Rivers to Cross detailed the unique experience of the newly emancipated slaves. It was fascinating to see how the quality of life of the freed slaves was highly dependent on the political climate each year. For example, when the former slaves were given “40 acres and a mule” yet they had it taken away approximately a year later when Andrew Johnson became president. The ups and downs of the fight of the African American community is highlighted carefully within this film. It was interesting and slightly horrifying to see the graphic images of the lynchings that took place in America around the time of the end of the Reconstruction. While it became possible for blacks to vote and own property, they were forced to segregate themselves and limit their own successes in order to keep a low profile and appease the whites. Amazingly, former slaves soon obtained positions in government. I find it incredible that only a few years after the civil war, so much progress had been made towards equality and yet taken away so fast.