Into America

Reconstructed: Keep the Faith, Baby (2022)

Episode Summary

In part three of our “Reconstructed" series, how faith carried Black people through the Reconstruction era and pushes us toward freedom today.

Episode Notes

On June 17, 2015, a white extremist shot and killed nine Black people in the Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina as they gathered for a bible study group. 

This wasn’t the first time Mother Emanuel had been attacked. In the 1820s, white people burned down Mother Emanuel in retaliation over a failed slave rebellion. For years, the congregation was forced to meet in secret. But through all the violence and backlash, the Black congregants relied on their faith, and during Reconstruction, they rebuilt. 

Mother Emanuel’s history mirrors the story of Black America. Through the centuries, faith has helped Black people find freedom, community, and strength, even in the face of violence.

This tradition of faith in the face of backlash holds true today. Trymaine talks with Bree Newsome Bass, whose incredible protest of scaling a 30-foot pole to take down the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol made her an icon of the movement. Bree’s actions led to the permanent removal of the Confederate flag from the state house. And she tells Trymaine that faith was the foundation of it all.

(Original release date: February 17, 2022)

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