Make Good the Promises
Make Good the Promises: Reconstruction and Its Legacies focuses on the story of Reconstruction—the period following the Civil War—through an African American lens.
The United States emerged from the Civil War fundamentally changed.
For the first time, slavery did not legally exist within its borders. What this meant was the question before the nation. Would four million newly freed people be truly free to determine their own lives? Would the nation’s founding promises of liberty, equality and justice be realized for all people, regardless of race?
These were the questions of Reconstruction. They remain the challenges of today.
Reconstruction was a revolutionary political, social and economic movement that reshaped the nation in profound and lasting ways. It manifested the aspirations and determinations of African Americans, including four million newly freed people, seeking to define themselves as free and equal citizens. Use this Exhibition Guide as a companion for your museum visit and as a keepsake with reflective activities to encourage further learning.
Pew from Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island, S.C.
Ellis Family Bible
Bodice attributed to Louvinia Price, 1860–1874
Apron Owned by Harriet Tubman
This exhibition is generously supported by
NMAAHC Corporate Leadership Council
The TJX Companies, Inc.
with additional support from The Rockefeller Foundation