What Does Freedom Mean? (Interact Live February 20, 2019)


This program is now complete.  The original program promo is available above.  Archived versions of the programs are available by clicking on the titles below.  

What does freedom mean?  This essential question is one that all of us think about at some point in our lives whether we answer it with a philosophic perspective about the importance of free speech or with a practical perspective about the ability to move to any place we want to live. But what if you were not permitted to act on what freedom meant to you?  What if you were not allowed free speech or free movement?

Educate.Today invites you to explore these questions and answers of your own and our guests through the lens of the African-American experience in American history.  Interact with historians, sociologists, activists, and writers.  Hear the stories of black Americans told in their own words. Contemplate what freedom means and what steps must be taken to guarantee its meaning through the three programs below.  To view a program, just click on its title.

This program is funded in part through a grant provided by the Missouri Humanities Council

Program 1–What Does Freedom Mean? An Exploration of 19th Century Freedom Suits

View this program for an insightful discussion on freedom suits filed by slaves as a method to gain their freedom in the first half of 19th century America.  Guests are Dr. Kelly Kennington, author of “In the Shadow of Dred Scott:  St. Louis Freedom Suits and the Legal Culture of Slavery in Antebellum America” and Associate Professor of History at Auburn University and Dr. David Konig, Professor of Law and Emeritus Professor of History at Washington University in St. Louis.

To learn more about freedom suits and see the records of freedom suits filed in the St. Louis Circuit Courts in the 1800’s, check out the resources available online in the St. Louis Freedom Suits/Legal Encoding Project.  To view a video with program guest Dr. David Konig as he explains the impact of the digital library of freedom suits provided through the Legal Encoding Project, click here.

Program 2–What Does Freedom Mean? An Exploration of Jim Crow Practices

At first glance, the answer to our question “What Does Freedom Mean?” may appear obvious, but for black Americans living in America in the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, the answer was restricted in many ways by Jim Crow laws designed to deny the freedom that was supposedly gained as a result of the Civil War and ensuing Constitutional amendments.  In this program, we look at some examples of those Jim Crow Laws and the steps that black Americans and their friends and allies took to fight against them and assert and make real the freedoms they deserved.  Our guest is civil rights and community activist Reverend Earl Nance, Jr., Pastor, Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church.

Program 3–What Does Freedom Mean? An Exploration of Change Agency in the Civil Rights Movement

In this program, we discuss the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and compare the promises and hopes of the 1960’s to the reality of America today. We  investigate how well freedoms have been assured through that legislation, where battles for freedom remain to be fought, and how each of us can be a part of carrying the movement forward.  Guests are Dr. Geoff Ward, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of African and African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis and Darryl T. Jones II, Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.