The era begins during America's great civil war, when President Abraham Lincoln decreed the rebel South's slaves free; it ends in 1875, when Congress passed a bill assuring African American rights. Between those towering milestones, blacks moved from bondage to freedom, from political impotence to civil power. But threatening every step of their journey was a seemingly unbreachable barrier of racism. Blacks fell back time and again; time and again they rallied and surged forward. Crowded with dramatic action and unforgettable black personalities, Forever Free presents an extraordinary epoch of black U.S. history.