Catch up on this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. In 2019 historian Keri Leigh Merritt published a thoughtful critique of Ken Burns’s Civil War documentary. According to Merritt: “The Civil War” has now influenced generations of Americans and shaped their beliefs about slavery, the war itself, and its aftermath. The documentary had an outsized effect on how many Americans think about the war, but it’s one that unfortunately lead to a fundamental misunderstanding about slavery and its legacies—a failing that both undergirds and fuels the flames of racism today.
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