Looking Over Jordan: African Americans and the WarSeries Website »
The Civil War began as a means of preserving the Union. However, to nearly four million African Americans, it held a much more personal promise. As Northern armies swept south, selfemancipated slaves sought refuge behind Union lines. Determined to claim basic human rights, these former slaves-turned-soldiers fought valiantly for the Union - and many sacrificed their lives for the cause. LOOKING OVER JORDAN: AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE WAR chronicles the black experience in the South before, during and after the war. The informative documentary features interviews with Civil War scholars, historical re-enactments, and primary readings from abolitionist Frederick Douglass, U.S. Secretary of State William Seward, Louis B. Hughes' autobiography Thirty Years a Slave ,and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Among many topics, the documentary covers the marked rise of slavery between 1790 and 1860, the role of religion and music in the slave narrative, the influx of freed black slaves into the Union army, heroics at the Battle of Nashville in December 1864, both Confiscation Acts, and the creation of the Bureau of Freedman, Refugees and Abandoned Land to aid freed slaves in the early Reconstruction era.