Into America

Reconstructed: In Search of the Promised Land (2022)

Episode Summary

How the newly freed reunited acquired land and built communities. And a group of Black families currently starting their own town in Georgia.

Episode Notes

In 1865, General William Tecumseh Sherman asked a group of African Americans in Georgia what they needed most to start their new lives as free people. The answer: land. 

This led to Sherman’s order that every Black family in the region receive 40 acres, and an Army mule if they liked. It was a promise the government decided not to keep, but where the government failed, the newly freed made their own way. 

In the second episode of “Reconstructed,” Trymaine Lee visits Promised Land. Founded just after the Civil War in the Upcountry region, Promised Land, South Carolina was self-sufficient, with a church, school, and farms to nourish its people’s mind and body. Trymaine talks to Reverend Willie Neal Norman Jr. and Elestine Smith Norman, a couple who can trace their Promised Lands roots back over a century. 

And Into America travels to rural Georgia to learn about a group of 19 families who bought several hundred acres in 2020 with the dream of creating a new town: Freedom. 

(Original release date: February 10, 2022)

Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at

For a transcript, please visit

For more: