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Reconstruction 360 - Teaching Ourselves - Third Module Now Available!

Screenshot from Reconstruction 360 website

Teaching Ourselves - Third Module of Reconstruction 360 Now Available!

Reconstruction 360 features 360-degree interactive video and short documentaries, and includes lesson plans, primary documents, curriculum standards and a geolocative walking tour of Reconstruction sites in downtown Columbia, S.C.


In a region which had the highest rate of illiteracy, black and white,  before the Civil War, the power of education was incalculable. Across the South, it had been a crime to teach the enslaved to read. During Reconstruction, Northern missionary societies, the Freedmen’s Bureau and other supporters helped raise money to support teachers and build schools for freedpeople, but the formerly enslaved understood the power of literacy and led the effort to educate themselves. The Reconstruction governments elected after the enfranchisement of black men founded more than 3,000 schools. Freedpeople, even the poorest, held fundraisers to pay teachers, and donated land and labor to build schools. W.E.B. DuBois declared that the development of black educators, “crowns the work of Reconstruction.”

Aspects of the theme explored in this module through clickable objects and characters include the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, schoolbooks and buildings, the education of black teachers, the role of the Freedmen’s Bureau in black education, and the role of missionary societies in founding schools for blacks.

Visit the Reconstruction 360 website here.



"Teaching Ourselves" was produced in the Friendfield Village church on Hobcaw Barony. The character of the community leader is played by Natalie Daise, well-known for her role in “Gullah Gullah Island." Featured in the first two photos are Lynne B. Ford, Teacher and Natalie Daise, Community Member,

The photographs were taken at a shoot for "Teaching Ourselves" at Hobcaw Barony.



Featured in the first and second photos are Lynne B. Ford, Teacher and Natalie Daise, Community Member, photographed during the shoot.



“Teaching Ourselves” was shot at Hobcaw Barony near Georgetown, South Carolina. Local schoolchildren played the roles of their Reconstruction-era counterparts.


Reconstruction 360 now features three modules - with more to come! View them all!


40 Acres & a Mule - First Module of Reconstruction 360

Reconstruction 360 is SCETV’s new web and mobile application that brings contemporary scholarship about Reconstruction to a project designed for mobile devices. Intended for the general public, students and educators, Reconstruction 360 uses 360° videos and short documentary films to shed light on the Reconstruction era. The project focuses on the theme of land and labor, specifically unpacking the history of “40 Acres and a Mule,” the short-lived promise of land that was made to freedmen along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.

Reconstruction 360 takes a close look at the impact on freedpeople of land policies during the early years of Reconstruction. The platform for the app is a 360° reenactment of the moment in 1865 when a freedman and his family are informed by a member of the Freedmen’s Bureau that they do not own the farm they had acquired through General Sherman’s Field Order 15.  As the scene plays out, hotspots leading to short videos appear next to the characters. In these videos, on-camera narrators chart the complex history of the promise and heartbreak of “40 Acres and a Mule,” including the role of the Freedmen’s Bureau, President Johnson’s pardons of Confederates, and the agency of freedpeople in shaping their own destiny after the Civil War. Other topics covered include the Black Codes, the role of women and children, the development of public education, and the evolution of sharecropping.

In other videos on the site, historians help to place the stories in the historical, social and geographic context, while interviews with descendants document personal connections to the past.

Geolocative maps guide users on a tour through Reconstruction landmarks in Columbia, South Carolina. Taken together, these elements create a history resource that is accessible, portable and appealing, making immersive mobile-first experiences widely available to a global audience on tablets and smartphones.



A Seat at the Table - Second Module of Reconstruction 360

You are invited to dinner in Savannah in 1868. The mother of a Black family has prepared a special meal to commemorate the new Georgia State Constitution that her husband and pastor have helped to create.

Reconstruction 360 uses a 360 degree video platform as a storytelling device that lets the audience step inside pivotal Reconstruction events. By clicking on icons within the 360 video the user can access short documentaries that offer the perspectives of multiple characters, historians and descendants. Reconstruction 360 also includes lesson plans, curriculum standards and primary documents. This module, A Seat at the Table, focuses on the theme of institution building, with a focus on the institution of family.



Photographed during a shoot of "A Seat at the Table." Savannah family seated around the table - from a production shot showing 360 camera in the middle of the table. 


Columbia Reconstruction Walking Tour

The Columbia Reconstruction Tour tells the history of Columbia during Reconstruction through the buildings – both those that remain and those that have been replaced – that line Main Street from the State House to Blanding Street and up Sumter Street, back to the State House. The tour covers the dramatic story of the period, from the Secession Convention of 1860, through the rise of African-American legislators, to the election of Wade Hampton and the fall of Republicanism in 1877, a date considered by some to be the end of Reconstruction. As a user of the app visits banks, churches, courthouses and other locations in the heart of the capital city, a picture emerges of the efforts to reconcile white and black communities during what was arguably South Carolina’s most tumultuous and progressive era.

Each of the thirty stops on the Columbia Reconstruction Tour contains images and written and audible text. When using the app in downtown Columbia, locations pop up when the user is within 30 feet of a site. The tour is self-guided and can be used off-site as well, on tablets and phones anywhere. Its place-based approach anchors the history of the city and state in the material culture of the period. The app can be downloaded for free from Tour Buddy Historic Apps in the App Store for both Apple and Android devices. The Columbia Reconstruction Tour was produced in collaboration with Historic Columbia and written by Thomas Brown, Professor of History at the University of South Carolina.

Download the App from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Reconstruction 360 is a project of South Carolina ETV, and is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.