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Caption: "Abraham Lincoln and His Emancipation Proclamation," The Strobridge Lith. Co., 1888 , Credit: Library of Congress
Image by: Library of Congress 
"Abraham Lincoln and His Emancipation Proclamation," The Strobridge Lith. Co., 1888  

Thenceforward and Forever Free: The Emancipation Proclamation

From: BackStory with the American History Guys
Series: BackStory with the American History Guys: Full Episodes
Length: 54:00

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In this episode of BackStory, we take a look at the narratives surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation and try to unpack its legacy. How can we best understand emancipation - a moral imperative, a military necessity, a political strategy, or all of the above?

Lincoln_emancipation-238x300_small On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In it, he announced that all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Today, Lincoln is remembered as “The Great Emancipator,” but the story of emancipation is complex and contradictory. And the question of how we choose to commemorate this anniversary can be touchy.

 

In this episode, the History Guys trace the shifting meanings of the Emancipation Proclamation, from 1863 to the Civil War’s centennial to the present. How should we best understand emancipation—as a moral imperative, military necessity, political strategy, or all of the above? 

Guests Include:

Piece Description

On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In it, he announced that all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Today, Lincoln is remembered as “The Great Emancipator,” but the story of emancipation is complex and contradictory. And the question of how we choose to commemorate this anniversary can be touchy.

 

In this episode, the History Guys trace the shifting meanings of the Emancipation Proclamation, from 1863 to the Civil War’s centennial to the present. How should we best understand emancipation—as a moral imperative, military necessity, political strategy, or all of the above? 

Guests Include:

Timing and Cues

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SHOW RUNDOWN

06:00 – 19:00 SEG A
IC: Major support for Backstory is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
OC: You’re listening to BackStory. Don’t go away.

06:00 - 14:32 Image Problems
Brian talks with art historian Kirk Savage about the ways Americans have memorialized Lincoln as “The Great Emancipator,” and they examine how that image was used in an 1876 national monument.

14:33 - 19:00 A Delicate Matter
Historian David Blight describes the controversy that marked the Civil War’s centennial celebrations over how to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation.

19:00 – 20:00 STATION BREAK 1 (MUSIC BED)

20:00 – 39:00 SEG B
IC: This is BackStory…
OC: We’ll be back in a minute.

20:00 – 25:25 Just the Facts, Ma’am
Brian and Peter talk to legal historian Michael Vorenberg to nail down what exactly the Emancipation Proclamation did and didn’t do.

25:26 – 30:39 Plan B
The History Guys discuss Lincoln’s anxieties over whether blacks and whites could live together peacefully in the wake of slavery, and take a look at his proposal to resettle freed slaves somewhere outside the United States.

30:40 – 39:00 Vantage Points
Ed discusses the response to the Emancipation Proclamation in the North, and talks with Christy Coleman on the varying perspectives in the South.

39:00 – 40:00 STATION BREAK 2 (MUSIC BED)

40:00 – 59:00 SEG C
IC: We’re back with BackStory…
OC: …at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

40:00 – 47:00 Listener Call
Peter, Ed, and Brian take a call from a listener.

47:01 – 51:20 A Long Way from There to Here
BackStory producer Eric Mennel talks with writer and editor Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic about the legacy of emancipation for African-Americans today.

51:21 – 58:03 In Their Own Words
We hear three former slaves, recorded by the WPA in the 1930s, describe their experiences of emancipation.

58:04 – 59:00 PRODUCTION/FUNDING CREDITS

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Contact: Producer, Tony Field (434) 924-8922, tfield@virginia.edu

Related Website

www.backstoryradio.org