Ethics, Society, & Culture
Black History: Reconstruction to Early Civil Rights (video)

Black History: Reconstruction to Early Civil Rights (video)

In this episode of As In Heaven, Jim Davis and Justin Holcomb welcome back Ligon Duncan for the second of a two-part discussion of the history of black people in America. In the last episode, Duncan began with the onset of chattel slavery in 1619 up to the Civil War. In this episode, he addresses the sordid practices of peonage, vagrancy laws, and sharecropping—and how they helped pave the way for Jim Crow laws in America. Understanding these historical realities will help white believers grow in empathy for our black brothers and sisters. The group discusses:

  • Reconstruction and its flaws, a lesser-known era (2:00)
  • Black codes and Reconstruction (9:57)
  • Sharecropping and its abuses (18:20)
  • Self-perpetuation of “slavery by another name” (20:57)
  • Discouraging black people from voting (24:07)
  • A horrific legacy outside the law (26:30)
  • The cloistering of black people (34:22)
  • Isn’t it all just history? (38:25)
  • Duncan and changing the Mississippi flag (43:01)


1. What narrative did you learn about the period following the Civil War, especially Reconstruction? How is that narrative different from the one Duncan shares?

2. What are some major events and policies from this era that created or maintained oppressive systems toward black Americans? How did those policies and events shape the future?

3. What are things from this era that have had a profound effect on America today? What about the church today?

4. Why might the histories presented in these first two episodes on the history of race in America be important conversations for the church?