By Megan Lanham
For the past five years, taking a story from the past and retelling it to a modern audience has been all the rage, especially on the musical scene (I’m looking at you Hamilton and Six: The Musical.)
Though, before any of these properties were even conceptualized, there was a show on PBS that brought the past to its young audience. That show is called Liberty’s Kids: American Revolution or just LIberty’s Kids.
Liberty’s Kids originally broadcasted by PBS on it’s PBS Kids block from Sept. 2, 2002 to April 4, 2003. Reruns were often airing on most PBS stations until Oct. 8, 2004. The show only had 1 season, lasting a span of 40 episodes. The episodes ran a half-hour, including commercials.
The series was based on an idea by Kevin O’Donnell; it’s purpose was to teach its viewers the origins of the United States. Liberty’s Kids tells of young people in conflicts surrounding the major events in the days of the Revolutionary War.
The plot of the show follows Benjamin Franklin and four fictional associates of his in their experiences during the American Revolution. These four associate are Sarah Philips, a 15 year old girl who travels the thirteen colonies in 1773 in search of her father;James Hiller, a young American colonist who works as an apprentice journalist for Franklin’s Newspaper; Henri Richard Maurice Dutoit LeFevbre, an energetic, rambunctious french boy that ends up caught in the revolution; and, at last, Moses, an african boy who was brought in chains as a slave and sold on the block in Charleston, South Carolina.
The series spans 16 years from the Boston Tea Party in 1773 to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, though no main characters appear to age apart from Benjamin Franklin. Many historical figures are featured throughout the series, spanning from cameos to full episodes; George Washington, John Laurens, Marquis de Lafayette, Joseph Brant, Alexander Hamilton and many more from all sides of the revolution.
This is a show I often remember being put on during history class as a child. It offered a window into the past through the eyes of children like me. As such, I felt more of a connection to the past thanks to this show. It did a wonderful job fulfilling the purpose Kevin O’ Donnell intended it for.
It still holds up to this very day as an entertaining and educational watch regardless of your age. If someone who likes Hamilton, I’d definitely recommend this show. All the episodes for this series are open and free to watch on YouTube.