Instructional Media Initiatives: Focusing on the Educational Resources Center at Thirteen/WNET, New York, New York: Slavery and the Making of America

Article excerpt


During February 2005, public broadcasting stations across the United States will be airing a landmark, four-part series: Slavery and the Making of America. Made possible through the generosity of the New York Life Insurance Company, this series details the history of slavery from its beginnings in 1619 through the American Revolution, the Civil War, the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment and Reconstruction. The series reflects new scholarship that will offer viewers critical perspectives on political, cultural and economic developments spanning more than a century of United States history.


Slavery and the Making of America is presented in four parts: Episode One: "The Downward Spiral"; Episode Two: "Liberty in the Air"; Episode Three: "Seeds of Destruction"; Episode Four: "The Challenge of Freedom." A description of each episode follows.

Episode One: "The Downward Spiral." The opening episode covers the beginning of slavery in Dutch New Amsterdam through the ensuing 100 years through the Stono Rebellion in 1739 that led to more codified racial oppression.

Episode Two: "Liberty in the Air." The second episode looks at the 1740s through the 1830s and covers the rise of slavery in the colonies. This segment includes slavery in the context of the American Revolution and looks at emerging notions of activism and freedom.

Episode Three: "Seeds of Destruction." Covering the period through the Civil War, episode three addresses the growing divisiveness between the North and South and examines personal histories that lay bare the horrors of slavery.

Episode Four: "The Challenge of Freedom." This episode covers the Civil War and Reconstruction and looks to the importance of freedom and some of the barriers to sustaining it. …