Notice: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Facing History and Ourselves library service has been impacted. The Facing History lending library is currently unable to fulfill orders. We are very sorry for the inconvenience. We look forward to restoring service as soon as we are safely able to do so.

In the meantime, we have a lot of great digital content and hundreds of streaming educational videos. Please email us at [email protected] if you need recommendations for specific material.

Slavery and the Making of America

DVD

4 DVDs, 60 minutes each
Source: PBS Video

This four-part series draws on a wealth of recent scholarship to look at slavery as an integral part of a developing nation. Using the stories of individuals, it offers new perspectives on the slave experience and testifies to the active role that Africans and African Americans took in surviving their bondage and shaping their own lives.

  1. Part One: The Downward Spiral
    This episode spotlights the origins of slavery in America, from 1619 through 1739. Focusing on Dutch New Amsterdam (later New York City), this chapter illustrates how slavery in its early years was a loosely defined labor source similar to indentured servitude.

  2. Part Two: Liberty in the Air
    Spanning from the 1740s through the 1830s, this episode explores the continued expansion of slavery in the colonies, the evolution of a distinct African American culture, and the roots of the emancipation movement.

  3. Part Three: Seeds of Destruction
    The third episode looks at the period from 1800 through the start of the Civil War. As the nation expanded west, the question of slavery became the overriding political issue.

  4. Part Four: The Challenge of Freedom
    The final episode takes viewers through the Civil War and Reconstruction. It examines the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the end of the Reconstruction, and the new form of legalized oppression that replaced it.

Related Content

Reading
Race in US History

The Influence of "The Birth of a Nation"

The misconceptions of the Dunning School and the Lost Cause were embodied in some of the most significant works of American popular culture in the twentieth century. Perhaps most influential film of that century’s first half, The Birth of a Nation was steeped in the Dunning School’s interpretation of Reconstruction.

DVD
Race & Membership/Eugenics
Race in US History

African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

The African American people forged their own history, culture, and society against unimaginable odds. Commencing with the origins of slavery in Africa, this series moves through five centuries of remarkable historic events up to the present--when America is led by a black president, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race.

Lesson
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Taking Ownership of the Law

Students listen to a podcast about two enslaved people who successfully sued for their freedom and reflect on what these cases illuminate about democracy today.

Video
Race in US History
The Reconstruction Era

Part Five: Violence and Backlash

Scholars discuss racial violence that took part in the South during the Reconstruction era.

Search Our Global Collection

Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.