Freedom: A History of US is for older children (grades 9-12), but I just may watch these myself in the meantime…

“Freedom” is the overarching theme of this sixteen-part series, based on the award winning books by master storyteller Joy Hakim. Freedom is what has drawn to America countless human beings from around the world; it is what generations of men and women have lived and died for; it is, in a profound sense, our nation’s highest calling. This is also the story of the chief obstacles to American freedom — the “unfreedoms” that have littered our national story, and in some cases have called its very integrity into question. But despite all the mistakes and all the tragic setbacks, there is an overarching positive message to this series. This is a history of the United States as the unfolding, inspiring story of human liberties aspired to and won.

Episodes

  1. Independence” examines how the 9/11 terrorist attacks awoke our focus on keeping freedom, then returns to 1776, when 13 colonies risked all in a struggle to obtain it.
  2. Revolution” watches colonists fighting to defeat the world’s greatest military power while striving to create a government — led by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson — that embodies their high ideals.
  3. In “Liberty for All?” America’s new freedom comes at a terrible cost to Native Americans. Pilgrims preach religious freedom, but the Salem witch trials betray a superstitious intolerance. Pioneers migrate west, headed for a gold rush.
  4. In “Wake Up America,” the nation embraces progress, the Industrial Revolution brings new leisure and personal freedom, and reformers seek better working conditions and equal rights.
  5. A Fatal Contradiction – A “fatal contradiction” obscures freedom and equality: the nation’s slaves. Slave trading and plantation brutality spark abolitionism and the Underground Railroad. Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln become heroes.
  6. A War to End Slavery – Brave soldiers on two sides endure the bloodiest battles ever fought on American soil, over the future of slavery. Lincoln’s eloquence at Gettysburg will soon be quieted by John Wilkes Booth.
  7. In “What Is Freedom?” Reconstruction begins as a time of great hope for a devastated South, but political turmoil brings a new era of segregation. The Supreme Court decrees “separate but equal” the law of the land.
  8. In “Whose Land is This?” racial conflict swells. While immigrants face increasing prejudice, settlers and soldiers massacre Indians or force them onto reservations. The High Court rules that non-citizens are due equal legal protection.
  9. Working for Freedom” unveils a new labor movement to advocate for worker rights, as industrial progress continues but the rich-poor gap widens. A Massachusetts strike gives workers a victory; Susan B. Anthony agitates for women’s suffrage.
  10. In “Yearning to Breathe Free,” the new Statue of Liberty, symbol of the best in America, inspires a time of reform and compassion. Mother Jones champions the child labor issue; Jane Addams creates Hull House.
  11. In “Safe for Democracy?,” the Wright brothers introduce the airplane and America soars. Woodrow Wilson joins the fight in World War I; at home, women gain the right to vote. The Twenties “roar” as personal freedom expands.
  12. In “Depression and War,” Black Thursday and the stock market crash send America into the Great Depression, and FDR builds a New Deal. Overseas, Adolf Hitler takes power and invades Poland. Pearl Harbor pushes America into World War II.
  13. Democracy and Struggles explores America’s position as acknowledged Free World leader. While a post-war Iron Curtain, the Cold War, and fear of communism give rise to witch-hunts that limit freedom, the Supreme Court rules in Brown v. Board of Education that other freedoms must be recognized.
  14. In “Let Freedom Ring,” the civil rights movement scores surprising success. Little Rock integrates its high school, JFK becomes president; and Martin Luther King, Jr., marches on Washington.
  15. In “Marching to Freedom Land,” the 1960s bring new progress in the quest for freedom, but social chaos threatens to tear society apart. JFK is assassinated, LBJ pursues the war in Vietnam, and Dr. King and RFK are shot.
  16. Becoming Free – In “Becoming Free,” the nation makes tremendous strides through the 1980s and into the new millennium. The nation is severely tested by 9/11 terrorism, but Americans rally together. New York City symbolizes U.S. diversity.

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