Africans in America


4 episodes on 2 DVDs
Source: PBS Video

Africans in America considers the contradictions that lie at the heart of the founding of the American nation. The infant democracy pronounced all men to be created equal while enslaving one race to benefit another. In four 90-minute programs, this series explores the impact of slavery on Americans—black and white—from the first English settlement in 1607 to the brink of civil war in 1861.

Disc 1:
1. The Terrible Transformation (1607-1750)
The English colonies bring opportunities for European settlers (including indentured servants), but for Africans abducted from their homelands, the new land brings hard labor and a system of race-based slavery enforced and protected by law.

2. Revolution (1750-1805)
This is the story of two American revolutions: the fight for independence from Britain, and the struggle of enslaved Africans for freedom. Despite its idealistic rhetoric, the new country refuses to reconcile the fact that it is a nation of liberty built on a foundation of slavery.

Disc 2:
3. Brotherly Love (1781-1834)
As free blacks and fugitive slaves seek full participation in American democracy, a new African American leadership of entrepreneurs, preachers, and abolitionists emerges throughout the North and South. The successful revolution in Haiti inspires revolt and rebellion in the South.

4. Judgment Day (1831-1861)
As the country expands west, so does slavery, even as it is challenged as never before by black and white abolitionists. Tensions mount and a polarized nation moves toward civil war.

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