My heartfelt thanks to all of you who tuned it to watch the documentary in February. I’ve received hundreds of emails and tweets in the past 12 hours and thousands of visitors to this website. It’s gratifying to see so many Americans with a serious interest in reconsidering and better comprehending these difficult aspects of our shared history.
Unfortunately, there are also still many people who are desperate to contort every fragment of history that they find into a foundation for a particular political agenda. In the terrain covered by my book and film, this is done often by both Democrats (who want to forget their ardent opposition to civil rights for African Americans a century ago) and more recently by Republican supporters (who want to claim credit for passage of the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s, even though the moderate wing of the party that cooperated with Lyndon Johnson in those votes has since been essentially obliterated).
Earlier today, I rejected a comment from one person because of the sweepingly inaccurate depiction it contained of what was and wasn’t in the film. He submitted another post a short while later that was marginally different, which I approved mostly so that others can see a good demonstration of what I call “historical contortionism.” It’s an impulse to twist history in ways that make it propagandistic, and that can see history only through a lens of the present. It values history only to the degree that bits and pieces can be used as ammunition in some contemporary fight–usually in ways that are irrelevant and ultimately false.
People who are serious about history, serious about the truth, whether they are conservative or liberal, Democrats or Republicans, realize that that sort of history–the kind of thing that used to come from the “Ministry of Information” in other countries–is dangerous. Slavery by Another Name is about America’s failures. No one group gets the blame. No one group gets to take credit. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise. Don’t become an unwitting, or witless, co-conspirator in a new effort to pollute our understanding of the past.
Here’s the response I gave to the historical contortionist, whose comment is on the blog as well.
|It doesn’t seem that you did listen carefully to the film. I rejected your earlier post because, even more so than this one, it misrepresented what is and isn’t in the film. I have no issue with anyone disagreeing with my interpretations, or those of others involved in making the film. But I’m not interested in posts appearing on this site that describe the book or the film incorrectly, written by people who either haven’t seen the film, couldn’t follow it or have chosen to depict it incorrectly.
The documentary makes crystal clear that both the Republican and Democratic parties failed African-Americans over the span of many decades. Indeed, virtually all white Americans, in every region of the country, by and large went along with the denial of citizenship to African-Americans and abided the their re-subjugation in the South. That’s the bottom line of what happened from the 1870s to the 1940s.
The film makes clear that Abraham Lincoln, Republican, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. And that his successor, Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, encouraged the return of white supremacist control of the South. That Teddy Roosevelt, Republican, was initially a friend to African-American citizenship and then turned terribly against them. That Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, extended Jim Crow segregation throughout the federal government. And that finally it was not until the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt that the first serious and sustained effort to defend the actual freedom and civil rights of blacks began. Even those efforts were deeply flawed, they did open doors so that for the first time the relentlessly hard work of African-Americans in jobs and schools would accrue to their OWN benefit, their OWN journey out of poverty–rather than for someone else’s profit and pleasure.
I realize that you are not a serious person as far as history. Your interest is only in how to twist parts of history to serve a current day political agenda. But the facts simply don’t support the myth currently being pushed by you and some other people that the Republicans were historically the good guys on race, and that Democrats were the villians, and that black people have blindly gotten things in reverse. The truth is that Abe Lincoln was a good guy, and that after that both parties failed blacks abjectly until the World War II period, when Democrats in the north and some Republicans began to support civil rights and economic opportunity for African-Americans.
It was that coalition of Democrats and Republicans who then passed the civil rights acts of the 1960s, over the bitter opposition of southern Democrats who subsequently, by and large, became Republicans. But “Slavery by Another Name”, book or film, isn’t about that. It is an indictment of America’s failure to preserve the great moral victory of the Civil War, and the mythologies we adopted to hide that failure. Republicans and Democrats and white Americans across the land were all collaborators in that conspiracy against justice.
But this is still going on today, more or less.
As I read down this list I kept thinking of my sister Sue, as in I should tell her that over and over again. Thanks for the inspiring reminders.
Remarkable book and outstanding documentary.
Who in Congress will initiate the necessary official hearings? Let the journey to justice for the family members of the victims of neo-slavery begin.
There must be reparations and public accountability just as there were for those victimized under U.S. sanctioned internment of the Japanese during WWII and those victimized by the Tuskegee syphilis experiments…
There must also be extensive national historical recognition–markers and monuments–and other forms of collective memory work done… It isn’t enough that people learn the truth about the horrors of neo-slavery, but even more importantly that all Americans NEVER forget these atrocities took place.
Mr. Blackmon–Any sense of future movement in this direction to real redress? I would think Rep. John Lewis from Georgia would eagerly lead the charge in Congress.
Mr. Blackmon, I applaud you and am so grateful to you for your hard work on getting the truth to us. I am a retired teacher who is applying for a grant to conduct a workshop on your book. Will you have workshops next year. Personally, I would like to corrrespond with you regarding my efforts. I have typed long exerpts from some of the chapters in your book to use as hand-outs. I have simply been glued to the PBS website. My grandfather was a sharecropper in rural Alabama not far from Birmingham. I many memories of our life on the farm. I also remember Mama and Papa talking about missing people who never returned home. I have written an autobiographical heritage poetry book about this era..with other sections also. I have beensearching for someone to sponsor the ppublishing of my book. The grant that I am applying for is not enough to publish a book and do a workshop. My workshop and my book are dedicated to my grandparents and those who never came home. Does you book come in hardback? Bless you and may God continue to keep you and allow you to always write the truth. If you can, please respond via my e-mail address. Thanks again for your courage and dedication to the truth.
Thanks you for what must have been a huge effort in writing the book, which I read some years ago.
I had considered myself a fairly well-educated student of Southern affairs, certainly I have read great deal about the civil war and ante-bellum era, but Slavery by Another Name completely boggled me. The extent and viciousness of the peonage system was largely unknown to me. This despite the fact that most of my recent ancestors are and were Southerners, which is a small example perhaps of the willful blindness among white Southerners to the horrible situation.
I am very eager to know if there has been any progress in bringing suits against specific persons or business concerns for damages against any of the victims. I know that statutes of limitations are the first difficulty to be overcome, so has there been any progress in that regard to your knowledge?
Douglas Blackmon, thank you for your research, scholarship, and dedication regarding this incredibly important part of US history. I was ignorant of much of this information, until reading your book. Neoslavery was a heinous crime against humanity, and not that long ago. This history should be known by all.
We can’t go back and change what happened, but we should still know where we’ve been as a nation, and as a culture. This information should inform how we look at ourselves as a people, and how we behave towards one another. Healing will take further generations.
That probably all of the people who committed these crimes against humanity, regarded themselves as Christian, is amazing. Same with slave trade before Emancipation, but the further crimes of Neoslavery extended and worsened the prior abuses. There is no way to really know the mind set of another time, but I can’t understand what those people did.
Thank you for a moving, enraging, and life changing book.
Although I’ve commented before, I still feel the need to express the extent to which I was affected by reading “Slavery by Another Name.” I have been a history buff since childhood and an enthusiastic reader of African American history since college. I worked 9 years as a reporter and editor for The Afro-American Newspaper chain and have edited manuscripts for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History bulletin. I read lengthy law review articles about Plessy v. Ferguson and the affect of Brown v. Topeka on the civil rights movement the way I once read comic books. However, I’ve read nothing that moved me as much as this book. Although I had read a sobering assessment of “Slavery…” in the New York Times Book Review, I simply was not prepared for the emotional impact that reading the book had upon me. Once I began reading, I could barely put it down, although its sordid revelations about the criminalization of many ordinary aspects of African American life so unnerved me that I could barely sleep one night. Since then, your book has inspired me to revisit my own (and other) library of African America as well as online journals of history, sociology, economics, and literature. In the process, I’ve gained something priceless: the newfound and awe inspired appreciation of the indomitable, collective will of African Americans to fight—for so long against seemingly insurmountable odds—for our seat at the table of American life.
By any other name would it be as cruel ? That the “Amendment” does not in fact mend the cruelty and disregard for fellow Human Beings makes the current employment situation just that more dependent upon the Business as “Master” and Employee as “Disposable Servant” in this continuing process disguised as separate events scattered over decades and generations.
Might as well admit we never felt a responsibility to ourselves . Doing just the bare minimum to appear repentant seems more Political Rhetoric(lip service) than any genuine change of heart.. So that a cruel and unusually vicious greedy streak of malice continue it’s work exploiting manufactured breaks in contrived laws. Equal protection ,only some being more equal, which strips the most productive years from the individual and then returning the care and upkeep of that individual to themselves or the State during the higher need years.
Externalizing non producing expenses back upon the individual is better than slavery. The first lie being Slavery was Ended hiding the bigger lie that in truth it hadn’t! Placed in context of the time I imagine a Former Pauperty Owner make it known to the Darky “better watch yourself real good cause you coming back if you don’t.” So even the Amendment is in truth a big lie or smokescreen some Legal linguist concocted. No remorse or admission that the “Previous Condition of Servitude”
was morally and fundamentally wrong.
The purpose of incarceration in most minds has been changing from Punitive to Restorative or Rehabilliment. Getting rid of Slavery entirely and stating the purpose that loss of physical freedom
is for Repair and Healing better stated in the Bill of Rights of New Hampshire as one example of existing wording would do much to AMEND our reputation in the world.
Unmasking our fraud and admitting it first to ourselves goes a long way to the real AMENDMENT necessary.
I just watched slavery by another name and I’m glad that such a hidden part of history has been brought out to the surface. I personally was unaware of these practices, I had always assumed that feat of death or imprisonment was the sole reason slavery after slavery continued. There was an element in the film that reminded me of the autobiography of Harriet Tubman, the gentleman in the film brought up and interesting point about the “feel” of the Negro and how it had changed after the emancipation proclamation. Prior to the e.p. no one had felt threatened by blacks or even deemed them untrustworthy. In the autobiography of Harriet Tubman she spoke of her father Ben and how he once arranged a meting with her and attended the meeting blindfolded because he was known for being a truthful person and did not want to damage his reputation. He did this so if anybody asked him had he seen her, he could honestly say no, even though he hadn’t seen his daughter in nearly fifteen years. The conspiracy theorist in me believes based on this film that maybe the e.p. primary goal was to free the slaves in order for those kind of conditions could take place in order to facilitate the needs of an entire country not just the south. There also was an experiment done in the early seventies possibly at Stanford I can’t recall where the students took on roles as prison guards and prisoners and after a while began assuming the roles of being a prison guard or a prison inmate. I bring that up because maybe that’s what happened over the last century, the black people assumed the role of what they had been perceived as for so long and the whites who were not directly involved in the negative treatment of African Americans bought into what they were being told about the blacks therefore conditioning them into believing the rhetoric that had surrounded the mind state and characteristics of the Negro. Had the civil rights issue been rectified by the start of the nineteen hundreds, the balance of wealth and power would be spread out between blacks and whites almost evenly.
I am a conservative libertarian and will watch with an open mind. But surely any documentary producer must know that they’re walking into some pretty heavy crossfire with anything related to race. Virtually every government policy is now being sold to us on the basis of “social justice” and any opposition or criticism of policy failures is characterized as being due to racism. All by a party that was rarely the right side of racial issues and still doesn’t really get it today. (Because school choice and entrepreneurship are some of the best roads out of poverty.)
I appreciate every open mind. There is no political perspective to the documentary, and it makes very clear the profound failures of both Republican and Democratic leadership—both Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson failed profoundly on the questions the film (and my book) deal with.
I hope you’ll let me know what you think after you’ve watched the film or read the book.
I saw it last night and thought it was very well done and illuminating. I found a little support for my own political convictions too when I saw the machinery of government being used to systematically deprive people of their rights without cause.
But yes, it’s not political, and you almost wish it was a little more political to know how that machinery was put in place. For example, the civil war is much better understood in the context of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act and the 1860 electoral college situation, both threatening to Federalize slavery this way or that.* I’d like to know whether any of those cases of essentially false imprisonment were appealed and what happened.
* For those who don’t know, in 1850 runaway slaves became little more than property to be returned, using federal marshals if necessary, in a decision that was upheld by the supreme court. But that turned out to be the high water mark for Federal support for slavery, and by 1860 Lincoln was able to win the presidency of the US without even being on the ballot in much of the south,making it clear to all that the Federal government was to be a northern, anti-slavery enterprise for the foreseeable future and setting the table for secession.
I will watch your film but before I do, I should like to point out that your article states facts in a manner that itself pre-disposes the reader to the very “historical contortionism” you warn against.
For example, you say. “Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, signed the Emancipation Proclamation” as if to suggest well, here is one example of a Republican seeking equality and justice for the slaves. And, knowing a little bit about Lincoln, I can say with some conviction that by the time he had become president that was his sentiment.
However, if you look more closely at the Emancipation Proclamation, and the historical context under which it issued, you will invariably conclude that not only that it did not free one single slave, but it ensured the continued enslavement of many. More so, one can argue that the motive behind Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was not to free the slaves, but to reconstitute the union, and that he never wanted to sign this executive order.
One hundred days prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln issued what some historians refer to as the “preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.” This order might be seen as either a bribe or a threat, depending upon one’s view of it. The order of September 22, 1862 stated very plainly that the slaves of states that remained in open rebellion against the Union will be free on January 1, 1863. The Confederate States refused to submit, however, and so the Emancipation Proclamation issued.
But, what Americans should know–but otherwise are not taught–is that the exception proved the rule when it came to the the effect of the order. So, the following slaves were not freed by the order: (1) those slaves in New Orleans which were well within the control of the Union forces (Lincoln’s blockade from the Mississippi down to the Gulf, and along the eastern seaboard was highly effective, preventing the South from trade with and European powers whom they hoped would ultimately support their cause); (2) the slaves in Tennessee (also under control of Union forces; (3) the slaves in the Western most provinces of Virginia (it is also a little known fact that one day prior to signing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln signed legislation permitting these western counties to enter the Union as a slave state–something they would do some six months later, even if once formed, West Virginia vowed gradual abolition); (4) the slaves of the so-called “neutral” state of Kentucky; and (5) the slaves of the Union states of Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware.
So, there is danger in suggesting that Lincoln freed the slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation. He didn’t free even one. The slaves of the Confederate states continued to be slaves after the order issued, and their already worsening oppressive conditions became that much more harsh as a result of it. One might make a compelling argument that Sherman freed more slaves as a result of his march to Savannah, and ironically enough, he personally didn’t care a lick about them. He just wanted to win the war.
Now I will watch your film. I hope you addressed the election of 1876 (eerily similar to our own 2000 election in many respects), when all hope of true equality for the Blacks was lost to political compromise.
Thanks for the reply. But you have clearly missed the point of my earlier post—and the whole thrust of the book and the film. The entire thesis here is that while we’ve all been TAUGHT that Lincoln ended slavery, he DIDN’T. And that “Slavery by Another Name” persisted in a huge form from “the Civil War to World War II.”
Your Lincoln history is also a little tilted toward the neo-Confederate red herring suggestion that Lincoln was fundamentally a white supremacist, but I couldn’t quite tell how far down that fallacious path you’ve gone.
Whatever the case, look around a little and catch up on the conversation, friend….
I will read your book which comes highly recommended. And I applaud you for educating Americans about their history.
As for the suggestion that my view of Lincoln tilts toward the Neo Confederate red herring that he was fundamentally a white supremacist, nothing can be further from the truth. I said at the outset that Lincoln was sympathetic to the cause of justice and equality for the slaves. (And I should add, at least by the time of his inauguration, he wanted freedom for the slaves, even if he might not have thought that was soon attainable).
I accept your broader point, that Lincoln really did not free the slaves, and I look forward to reading your book. But as I see it, your article warning against “historical contortionism” to some degree exposes people to a fallacy that makes them susceptible to committing that very offense. You assert: “The film makes clear that Abraham Lincoln, Republican, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. And that his successor, Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, encouraged the return of white supremacist control of the South.”
The argument you are building, by way of historical analysis, as I understand it is, at least here, a Republican attempted to free the slaves and a Democrat attempted to re-enslave them. And again, I understand your general thesis that neither party may claim to have been the standard bearer of freedom, the champion of civil rights; and that both parties are guilty of continued oppression of blacks over the course of the next century.
My point is much more discrete. Your statement “Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation,” taken in context or out of context, seems to me to concede a point to those who engage in what you have coined “historical contortionism,” and also makes others susceptible to it. History is not well taught; and even good historians can unwittingly and quite unintentionally perpetuate myths that should be corrected.
Perhaps your book dispels the myth that Lincoln freed the slaves when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. My only point is that what you leave untouched—at least here in your article—is that the very wording of the Emancipation Proclamation freed no slave in any part of the country where the government of the United States was recognized. At the same time, in the context in which you assert “Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation,” I think the average American reader is entreated to his own fanciful notions about the president and the document. They conceptualize Lincoln freeing all slaves when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and they do this because this is something that has been told them from the time they were in the second grade. But Lincoln did not do this, at least not with this document. He may have wanted to do this, but politically he could not. That is why the exceptions within the document proved the rule and those slaves over whom he had any political authority remained slaves. This is what Americans do not know, because they are not well taught.
Tom I am very impressed with how beautifully you articulated your rebuttal, you have truly enlightened me. I had been unaware of a lot of the history you mentioned in your previous comments and I intend to investigate the content further. I sincerely hope that Mr. Blackmon acknowledges the fact that you were merely pointing out how one could create a bias after reading his article-which I might point out a bias that I didn’t consider until reading your comment-and that it was in no way a character assassination or a personal attack. Mr. Blackmon and Mr. Bundock I appreciate you both, and I’ve learned something from each of you. -I also know it wouldn’t be in my best interest to argue with neither of you.
The documentary quite clearly refers to the 13th amendment, not the emancipation proclamation, as the end of slavery and even parses the language of that amendment to show how criminal convictions could be used to circumvent it. Besides, slavery is not the focus as is clear by the title – at least not the slavery that we all think of when we hear the word. It seems fairly straightforward.
The only slightly shaky ground in that area that I saw was when it went int a brief discussion of why poor southerners supported slavery that seemed a little simplistic. The economics of slavery were clearly complex and I don’t think its worth looking for too many answers there. My guess would be that that was simply the society people were brought up in and they took it as normal, especially given that it wasn’t in their power to change it.
Immediately after seeing the program, I went to the library and got your book. I have a better understanding why blacks to this day distrust the judicial sytem.
I am a very avid reader of American Black History and I have taken it upon myself, to educate myself about my history. I look forward to reading your book. Based on the commotion it has caused I certainly will read every page. The truth hurts, as I have found by reading American Black history. However, it helps me understand that regardless of the past, my people were strong and sustained life, so that I may live.
I cried when I started reading the rest of your website.
From about 1949 to 1954 I attended primary school in the ghostly little town of New Castle north of Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama. New Castle originated as a coal mining town and most of the old buildings were still there although most were not in use. Although I never saw it, I heard about an abandoned prison farm that was located up the hill from the mines. Even as a child I wondered about the prisoners. Who were they? Why were they there? What happened to them? I would very much like to know if this location was one where this atrocious practice took place. Thank you for the time and effort you have expended to bring this to light.
Thanks for your comment, Arlene. Newcastle was absolutely one of the locations where these shocking things occurred, and if I remember correctly was one of the mines associated with John T. Milner who is featured prominently in the film. If you check the index of my book, I think you’ll find more.
Thank you for having the fortitude to research and the courage to write the book! This explains a lot of our history and our present. Excellent film. Thank you
I was deeply moved by this film. I admire the courage to take up this topic and present this subject in the way you did – bare – with no hiding of the facts.
This is one of the hardest pieces of film I”ve watched in recent memory. It’s heartbreaking and emotionally wrenching content, made even more painful by the fact of it being fact and not fiction. I commend you for bringing these stories and voices to life and hope that it continues to find an audience on and beyond PBS. May we continue to have the courage to have these conversations and face our failings head on, because those who don’t know their history.. as the saying goes.
Thank you Mr. Blackmon for your educational and excellent documentary . I watched with tears in my eyes then realized some of the same polices of stopping & frisking Black men got it’s origin from the practices and polices of your documentary. I also hope their are plans to show this film in every school in America,particularly schools with a high Black student populations. It’s my belief when students understand what others who they can identify with learn what they had to endure,then tend to better in their own lives. I cannot thank you enough for your great documentary.
Thank you. The film is available to all schools at http://www.pbs.org/sban, and there are great curriculums and education materials on the website too. Encourage teachers and principals to take a look.
Thank You for your marvelous truth-telling history lesson. We can self righteously believe that “we are better now” or we can tell the truth about how we continue to turn our backs on another group of people and exploit them in very similar ways. Please continue to talk about our “history”. However, don’t forget that we are responsible for our present day conditions. We turn blind eyes to our migrant workers every day. They are experiencing human rights violations right here and now in the 21st century. I submit that we can honor the memory of those who have suffered and learn from the lessons of the past by acting here and now! Let’s educate ourselves about modern day slavery and take a stand to abolish it.
As a black man in Canada, I find your documentary very useful in my continuing-education about the history of Black people in America and elsewhere around the world. I thank you for this excellent job of researching and narrating such an important period in the history of mankind. It is a shame that you have to defend such a well-done documentary. It strikes me though that, despite all the progress we have made over the last 60 years, we have gone nowhere in a sense. For the wounds of history are difficult to heal when denial, spinning and politics are the only dressings that most privileged people deem fit to apply. Thank you for your courage and may God bless you!
I just watched the documentary, which was broadcast on WGBH, a PBS affiliate that we get up here in Canada. I was profoundly moved by it, understanding for the first time the despair the must have been so prevalent during this dark time. I grew up hearing about the slavery practiced in America, but remained aloof because of the passage of time since then and knowledge of my own country’s contribution to amelioration. However, given the scope of what I have learned today, I cannot help but wonder just how limited that amelioration was. I am left with the unpleasant thought that we were just as complicit up here, and the ‘whitewash’ was just more thorough. That is another documentary on it’s own…
Profoundly moved is an understatement. I cannot fully express how much your documentary has affected me. Thank you.
Here is a link, which may answer some questions. The curator of the museum recomended a book containing aricles by Fred Landon and I am about half way through it.
Thank you for bringing the truth to light through your rendering of the despicable conditions and suffering endured by a helpless population of people.
Dear Mr. Blackmon:
Thank you so much for your hard work. I cannot convey enough on how your finding fundamentally impact me.
How can we educate American people, both old and young generations about this historical truth?
Respectfully, Jewish people have been constantly reminding the American people and the world about the Holocaust.
How about what happened to those black young men who were unjustly captured and send to do hard labor without pay to their death?
What should we do? How can we take action on educating our people in America and the world of what happened?
The first thing to “do” is for Americans to do what you’re doing–be open to the idea that much worse things happened than we’ve generally acknowledged–and then start start talking about what “to do”!
Dear Mr. Blackmon, first I would like to say thank you so much for your work,
The World should be taught and reminded What happened to Those Innocent Young Black Men who had bad been worked to death without any justice and care.
I believe a campaign should be seriously started to remember those Black Men who were wrongfully put in jail for doing hard labor without pay, without health care, or any protection or any justice for them. As far as I concern what happen to those Black Young Men is one of the Biggist Shame of All mandkind.
Nowadays, Black men are still systematically dicriminated. Statically there are more Black men in jail in America then any other race. This explain why some white cops stop black drivers more often then other people. Old habit is hard to die?
I have no intention to create conflit between Blacks and Whites, If the Jews can Remind the World what the Natzi has done and American people can go along with it, but why Americans cannot face this hitorical truth and do somthing about it. I do believe that this systematic discrimination of Black people especially of Black Men by the Certain Southern Whites needed to be told. We should educate the American young generations about the truth. So some young generations will not blindly inherit the racism from their older generations.
1. The Black-Americans were incarcerated injustly.
2. They were forced to work for free without any protection
3. They were strip from their families, from their lives, and their free…dom
4. They were used to do extremely hard labor to death like robots without any concern of their well beings.
Certain Southern Whites had had done unspeakble crimes to the black people. The American Goverment at the time fail to protect its Citizens. Those Black Young Men were forced to work to the last drop of their sweat and blood before they die. There were treated worse then horses and cows.
As a human being, I cannot begin to tell you how heart broken I feel.
Who were those Black Men and What ere their names? Did any body know who they were and Who can remember them?
They were our brothers, fathers, husbands, sons.
I was not originally from this country, the fellow men in my native country looks up to America so much. We admire your demoracy, care about human right. We admired your industrialization.
The Rise of the Southern Industrialization was bult on the exploitation of Black people’s blood and sweat in the most inhumane way.
Even today, gerrymandering of election districts and strict requirements for voting are being passed in some states to reduce minority voters and deprive minorities of representation in state and federal elections.
I read the book and am glad to see that it’s being broadcast for all to see. I didn’t know it was on because I DEFINITELY would not have missed it. I will be looking for it to re-air. Also, will there be a DVD of the documentary?
DVDs are available at http://www.pbs.org/sban
This was one of the most moving films I have ever seen, equal in power to Darwin’s Nightmare. Thank you, and thank you also for the balanced reporting. It is ridiculous for someone today, of either party to try to stake out a favorable position for themselves based on party labels. For example, the Republican party of today does not even resemble the same party of of even 20 years ago. Throw out the labels! If anything, those who are ardent ‘States Rights-ers” today have more in common with those of the same attitude who used that term as a screen for their actual agendas from the late 19th century on up. For me, the chest thumping proclamations of “American Exceptionalism” always conjure up an image of turn of the century lynching postcards. Your film is a firm reminder that despite the wonders of this country, trying to self-righteously elevate ourselves morally above the sordid aspects of human history across the rest of the planet is self-delusional. Why is humility such an elusive sentiment for Americans?
Excellent! I learned information that I did not know. To the people who do not like your story, too bad. The truth always hurts. Of course most change in the government is mostly, politically motivated not morally.
One thing I hope you covered in the book is that the result we are experiencing now is the country has become accustomed to an obscenely high percentage of its people in prison. 5% of the worls’d population has caged 25% of the world’s prisoners.
While the slave labor may be much reduced, the use of people who pose no threat to society as bargaining chips in the game of increasing taxes and squandering the funds taken in is itself a crime.
Not to mention that many of those prisoners are working for practically nothing as they manufacture goods for American businesses. Leased out to work, prisoners who used crack instead of coke are part of the present-day slave labor class. ‘Privatizing’ of prisons and harder punishments for ‘black’ behaviour conveniently called a crime by the lawmakers is a massive bi-partisan slave labor enabling racket, IMO.
Thankyou very much for answering so many questions I had that were never answered, growing up in America. You are taught about 1865 then it jumps to the 1960’s. You sir have become the voice of the lost souls never heard. And you have explained in detail how the middle class in america grew while blacks remained in poverty. I hope that this is aired again and sold on dvd. Pls sir continue your body of work. You are greatly appreciated.
What is amazing is not that the things which are hidden eventually are exposed but how deep the roots of Salvery are in the laws and fabric of this land of opportunity. Is it any wonder that we still have the fruit of this criminilization of a people in the re-writing of laws that were once misdemenors to felonies all across the mid-west and throughout the growing penal states in my country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty. Thank you for this eye-opening, jaw-dropping documentary during “black history month” Thank you for this light on HISTORY. American history.
I was looking for the original post that you responded to so eloquently. Can’t find it…can you show it again? That kind of calculated ignorance needs the disinfectant of sunlight…
It’s a comment under the “Humbling Response” blog post from me. From “Joe.” The “humbling” item is from years ago, but a lot of the new comments are under those older posts….
I watch this documentary last night and I cried and cried and cried……..So so sad how african american men, women and children was treated…..On judgement day, justic will prevail………
When can we see a re-broadcast?
Check your local listings–which means call your local PBS affiliate. The film will be rebroadcast at different times and on different dates in various markets. You can also watch it online at pbs.org/SBAN
Thank you for exsposing the real truth as much as it hurts. GOD will bless you.