New Podcast “Seizing Freedom” Brings Black Americans’ Civil War Stories To Life

The podcast delves in to the difficult history of African Americans’ struggle for freedom during and after the Civil War and Reconstruction Era.

In recent months, the issue of social justice and its connection to systemic racism and oppression have led to significant shifts in our collective thinking about the ways white supremacy persists in so many aspects of American life. These important conversations have been long in the making. In addition to having frank discussions about biased policies and uprooting unconscious racism, this moment is also bringing to light the importance of narrative equity and having the kind of balance in storytelling that make audiences feel more connected to the media they consume.

“Freedom isn’t something that’s given to African Americans. They have to seize it during the Civil War. And once they gain legal freedom, they have to work to make it real.” – -Dr. Kidada Williams, Wayne State University

One new offering that is tied to this shifting media paradigm is the new podcast, “Seizing Freedom.” It takes listeners back to the lessons we all grew up learning about the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation and digs way, way deeper — specifically into the work that Black Americans did to battle for and secure their own freedom. 

Listen: Wayne State University historian Kidada Williams talks about African Americans’ struggle for freedom.


Kidada Williams is a Wayne State University professor, author and historian who studies what happened to African American survivors of racist violence. She’s also the host of the new podcast, “Seizing Freedom.”

Williams says children are often not told about the role of African Americans in securing their own freedom. 

“If it’s not erased altogether, it’s distorted,” says Williams. “Coming up through school, we didn’t learn about Black people during the Civil War, we didn’t learn about Black people during Reconstruction,” she continues. “What was made clear to me when I raised questions was this was a White man’s war and a White man’s history of it.”

She also shines light on the fact that the struggle for freedom didn’t come easy, “Freedom isn’t something that’s given to African Americans. They had to seize it during the Civil War. And once they gained legal freedom, they had to work to make it real.”

Web story by Allise Hurd.

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