Date Uploaded: 08/22/2017
Slavery and the Making of America (PBS-Public Broadcasting Service) (Complete Four-Part, History Documentary) Reloaded 2017 from AGORASTREA Narration By: Morgan Freeman Starring: Chauncey Herring, Justin Jackson, Fred Johnson, Fred Johnson, Eric W. Klatt, Don Pentz, Virginia M. Pinckney, Desmond Aldridge, Steven A. Butler Jr., Carlo Daquin, Ian Eaton, Jerrod Paige, Kerry Robinson, Jeremy L. Sheppard, Robert Sizemore, Algernon Ward Jr., LeCourtney Young, Sebastian Trossbach PBS Description: SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA is a four-part series documenting the history of American slavery from its beginnings in the British colonies to its end in the Southern states and the years of post-Civil War Reconstruction. Drawing on a wealth of recent scholarship, it looks at slavery as an integral part of a developing nation, challenging the long held notion that slavery was exclusively a Southern enterprise. At the same time, by focusing on the remarkable stories of individual slaves, 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. IMDB Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0472251/ Episode 02 - Liberty In The Air From the 1740s to the 1830s, the institution of slavery continued to support economic development. As the slave population reproduced, American planters became less dependent on the African slave trade. Ensuing generations of slaves developed a unique culture that blended elements of African and American life. Episode two follows the paths of several African Americans, including Thomas Jefferson's slave Jupiter, Colonel Tye, Elizabeth Freeman, David Walker, and Maria Stewart, Watch a preview as they respond to the increasingly restrictive system of slavery. At the core of this episode is the Revolutionary War, an event which reveals the contradictions of a nation seeking independence while simultaneously denying freedom to its black citizens. - Transcript SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA Episode 2: "Liberty in the Air" Morgan Freeman, Narrator: New York City, 1741. Quack, enslaved to a house painter, approached Fort George -- the seat of British colonial rule in New York and home to the governor. Thomas Davis: Quack was also married to the governor's cook, a slave. The governor did not like Quack's behavior and did not like when Quack came visiting and the governor gave orders to the fort's centuries that if Quack should appear he should not be allowed entry. Quack uttered certain imprecations that he would burn the place down but he would be with his wife. And when the fort did subsequently burn down Quack was a prime suspect. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: When fires erupted in a number of other buildings, warehouses, and stores, it was clear that this was more than romance thwarted. Thomas Davis: The cry went up, "the negroes are rising, the negroes are rising." Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Rumors of slaves organizing rebellions traveled the Atlantic seaboard. Two years earlier in an uprising of slaves in Stono, South Carolina some whites were murdered. Now, white New Yorkers panicked. Thomas Davis: Almost every adult black male who was over 14 years of age was picked up by the city constables, by the militia, and placed in jail. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: As the inquiries began, Caesar, slave of a baker, was the first to be marched to the gallows. His body would hang in a public space while a conspiracy trial accused dozens of slaves and a few whites of plotting to burn down New York City and foment slave rebellion. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: The trial revealed bitter details about the lives of the enslaved in New York, home to the second largest slave population after Charleston, South Carolina. Graham Russell Hodges: There was a sense among all of these slaves that they were trapped into a system that offered no yield at all. That there was nothing that they could do if they wanted to be free except to revolt. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Slaves complained about being overworked and that they weren't supplied with enough clothing or fuel to keep warm. They lashed out at the laws that prohibited them from gathering together. But their most common complaint was not being allowed to visit their loved ones. Graham Russell Hodges: In the mid 18th century African Americans in New York knew that liberty existed for others. They knew it was denied to them. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: As slaves faced the court they were confronted by all the laws that had accumulated over the past one hundred years restricting and degrading their lives. Thomas Davis: The law of slavery deemed that persons who were patently human beings were not in fact persons. They were not persons at law rather they were deemed property. Well that is a patent fiction. Anyone can look at Caesar , at Quack ... and say well yes these are persons. And much of slaves' existence was geared to the fact of demonstrating their humanity. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Early in the proceedings, Quack was accused of burning down Fort George. He and twelve other black men were burned at the stake, seventeen were hanged. Four whites were also hanged. Thomas Davis: After each rebellion, what the society seeks to do is pass a more repressive set of laws. And so we have a continually upward cycling of violence because the violence of slaveholder repression produces the violence of slave reaction. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: By the 1750s some five thousand Africans a year were brought to American docks in crowded filthy, stinking ships ... Jim Horton: And for weeks they are confined to these places, people being chained together. People dying and being chained to dead people for periods of time until somebody decides to take the dead people above decks and throw them into the ocean. Peter Wood: Some people it didn't last two weeks but for other people they began mustering the human resources that it would take to figure out the predicament they had been thrown into. Peter Wood: The planters, the exploiters have rationalized what they're doing. They've worked it out with the law. They've worked it out with their god one way or another. And they've begun the long trek into American racism. That is to say they've reduced these people to less than human beings. And that's the way they're gonna make it work. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: A hundred years after the first Africans arrived -- most colonies were heavily dependent upon slave labor. By 1750 a quarter million enslaved blacks now made vast wealth possible for their masters. Peter Wood: Slavery it seems to me was an extraordinary goose that laid the golden egg ... .You had workers that you didn't have to pay and you owned their children as soon as they were born. It's a preposterous system . All you have to do is visit one of the huge plantations in Virginia or South Carolina to see the wealth that flowed ... Morgan Freeman, Narrator: At Shadwell -- a tobacco plantation in the Piedmont region of Virginia -- two young boys are growing up together. Jupiter was born a slave. The other, Thomas Jefferson, would one day be president of a new republic. Jupiter was one of more than sixty slaves who sustained Jefferson's family. Ira Berlin: A new generation of black people -- of slaves is coming of age. These are people who are born on this side of the Atlantic. These are people who know how to operate within the society. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: When Thomas Jefferson went off to study the classics, Jupiter was trained to be Jefferson's personal valet. That training would include sophisticated lessons in psychology and power. Jennifer Morgan: Certainly as he grew up one of the things that he was gonna have to learn is that a boy who is his same age, Thomas Jefferson's, is going to grow up to be his owner, is gonna grow up to be his master. Ira Berlin: He came to understand something about the politics of that world... The word liberty of course would come to be used much in the years that followed. And his own owner, Thomas Jefferson became a great merchant of the language of liberty. Jupiter understood that as well. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Jupiter's status and work conditions were privileged compared to most other slaves at Shadwell. But for all of them -- including Jupiter -- it would be endless work, from sun-up to sundown and beyond. Norrece Jones: And all of them also would have experienced a punishment. The severity of the lashings, the cutting off of ears, the kind of contraptions that are placed around people to prevent running away. All of these tortuous weapons are realities that enslaved people everywhere would have experienced. Jennifer Morgan: Jupiter, like any child, would also have to deal with the fact that while his parents have authority over him their authority is secondary to the authority of the slave owner. He might have to witness his mother being schooled by her owner. He would have to watch his mother being punished, being whipped or being raped. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: In this lopsided balance of power slaves found ingenious ways to resist the master. Some subtle, some overt, some suicidal. Peter Wood: Arson was one of the primary forms of resistance because it was hard to track. Poisoning was another. Running away was another because you were literally stealing property from the master if you ran away. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: A runaway ad in 1746 describes sixteen-year-old Stephen Thusly. He has been "much whipped, which his back will show..." Another ad describes Peter, as Virginia born, running away with iron shackles on his legs... Thomas Davis: ... Day after day slaves are refusing to obey. They are saying listen we have our own lives. We will not go that far. We will not submit totally. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Slave and master knew each other well. Using this familiarity slaves constantly tested the boundaries. They negotiated with their masters for more time to work on their own gardens or to sell and trade produce they cultivated. Ira Berlin: It would seem that somebody who's a slave would have no power and would have nothing to negotiate. But slaves found that they could negotiate. They danced the dance of domination and subordination. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: One of the most profound forms of resistance was the preservation of African religions, values, and beliefs. Sylvia R. Frey: What it did is create an internal universe, which is separate and apart from and beyond the control of a white master. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Yet something else was emerging. Jennifer Morgan: The first generation of American born descendants of Africans are really in the process of creating something that has a very strong link to Africa but which is really quite new. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: On plantations new African arrivals mixed with American born slaves to shape a new culture. Peter Wood: The Jefferson family may have a violin from Europe. And someone plays that fiddle. ... Jupiter's family from Africa knows how to make banjos. In fact Thomas Jefferson himself writes about how the banjo is an African instrument. Originally in Africa they often made it using a big gourd...so this is complicated coming together of different cultures not just Europe and Africa but varieties of West African cultures. On any given plantation any given young person like Jupiter is experiencing all these forces. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: For Jupiter growing to adulthood it was a double life. When Jefferson went off to college in Williamsburg, Jupiter accompanied him as his valet. When Jefferson went to court his future wife at her father's plantation, Jupiter would find his future wife enslaved there. They would all end up at Monticello, Jefferson's mansion in rural Virginia. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: As slaves began forming extended families the slave quarter became the center of family life. Norrece Jones: They, like any other human beings free or un-free, a thousand years ago or today, have the emotions of any other people. They fall in love, they hate others, they develop friendships and how to do this within the milieu of slavery simply made those very human realities more difficult and more challenging, but they existed. Jennifer Morgan: ... Networks of love and affection and connection between the enslaved have got to be really crucial to surviving the experience of slavery ... to surviving it on an emotional level as well as a physical level. Norrece Jones: But in the creation of those families it gave their owners yet another weapon to force them to behave in ways that they wanted. Jennifer Morgan: What this community then becomes is the foundation for an internal slave trade where these children a ... these families will be separated in the future. Peter Wood: ... It's almost unimaginable the tragedy of seeing next of kin simply removed, disappeared, shipped somewhere else. The sheer mind boggling excruciating situation of dealing with arbitrary power on a daily basis not knowing when you wake up in the morning whether the family will be complete when you go to bed at night. Peter Wood: If you look at the runaway advertisements in the colonial newspapers what's striking is that roughly half of the people are running away to see kinfolk, to see loved ones. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Slave sales and cross-plantation marriages meant that families were strewn across the landscape. A web of well-worn footpaths soon connected plantations and farms creating a kinship map of a region. Those paths also functioned as trading and news networks. The complex waterways of the Atlantic seaboard extended these contacts. They would become key for a young slave, named Titus, coming of age on the eve of the American Revolution. During the early 1770s in Monmouth County, New Jersey Titus worked alongside his quick-tempered owner, John Corlies. It was a time when some colonists were beginning to protest British restrictions on their freedom. Titus was alert to the gathering storm. He knew that one protestant group -- the Quakers -- had begun to free their slaves . John Corlies was a Quaker. Graham Russell Hodges: When Titus turns 21 he knows this is the age in which other Quakers free their enslaved people. Corlies refuses to do so. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Unlike other Quakers, Corlies also refused to teach Titus to read and write -- but he did send his young slave to market alone. Titus would take advantage of this practical education. He had a wide range of survival skills. He earned cash by selling animal skins and produce he had grown. He also owned a mental map of the area and its extensive waterways. As Titus turned 21 it was 1775. The American Revolution had begun. He now saw the mounting political conflict as an opportunity. He made a dangerous and risky move. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: When Titus ran some half million, or one in five people in the colonies were of African descent. Most were enslaved. Some were free. A few even owned slaves themselves. As the relationship between the colonists and the British deteriorated, black people in America faced a new challenge -- how to make their demands for freedom heard in the growing cacophony for liberty. In rural Massachusetts a domestic slave by the name of Mum Bett was paying close attention to this unfolding crisis. She worked alongside her sister, Lizzie, in the home of John and Hannah Ashley. John Sedgewick: Colonel John Ashley was probably the most important man in town. The Ashleys owned just about everything there was to own. Including as it turned out Mum Bett herself. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: One day an incident occurred that would strengthen Mum Bett's resolve John Sedgewick: Lizzie was making for herself some wheat cakes from the scraps that were left over...and Mum Bett is watching from the other side of the room. When Mrs. Ashley sees this and gets furious. She takes a coal pan from the fireplace, a red-hot device that she's ready to bring down on little Lizzie's head. Well Mum Bett of course would never sit for that. She gets the coal pan on her own forearm and it burns her severely and leaves a nasty scar. Well for years afterwards Mum Bett made a point of rolling up her sleeves whenever she was in public so that she would reveal the scar. So that when people would ask her "why Betty what happened?" she would say "Ask Madam!" Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Mum Bett would soon take her destiny into her own hands. Deprived of an opportunity to learn how to read and write Mum Bett was listening in on the growing resentment of the colonists against British taxation and control. She was present during crucial meetings in the Ashley house when a position paper was written demanding rights for the colonists. John Sedgewick : In it they used the phrase or something very close to "every citizen is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." These words that come down from the philosopher John Locke and become part of the scriptural language of the Declaration of Independence. She would have been right there. She would have heard it. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Revolution and the rhetoric of liberty were in the air. Mum Bett and others like her would soon begin to exhale this new language. Voice Over: The natural liberty of man is to be free. Thomas Davis: Beginning in 1765 with the Stamp Act crisis, the language the rhetoric, of natural rights flows throughout the American colonies Voice Over: The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time. Thomas Davis: There are continual pamphlets that are coming forward to express views of natural rights Slaves hear that conversation. Slaves some of them read those pamphlets . Voice Over: All men are by nature equally free and have certain inherent rights in which when they enter. Jim Horton: You know when you listen to the patriots. Voice Over: Reducing us to slavery. Jim Horton: They say we will not be the slaves of England. They don't say we will not be the second-class citizens. They will, they don't say we won't be the oppressed people they say we will not be the slaves. Well when people who hold slaves say we will not be slaves you know that they know what they're talking about. Well slaves were saying exactly the same thing. And African Americans were quick to say we will not be the slaves of England nor will we be the slaves of America. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: In early 1773 a petition arrived on the desk of governor Thomas Hutchinson, the British crown's representative in Massachusetts. At a time when most slaves were illiterate, this petition was signed by a slave. Voice Over: "The humble Petition of many slaves: we shall never be able to possess and enjoy any thing, not even life itself, but in a manner as the beasts that perish. We have no Property! We have no City! No Country! ... Signed Felix. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Three months later another petition was written and signed by four enslaved men, Peter Bestes, Sambo Freeman, Chester Joie, and Felix Holbrook. Voice Over: We expect great things from men who have made such a noble stand against the designs of their fellow men to enslave them. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: The petitioners demanded answers. Thomas Davis: How is it that you can talk about liberty as a fundamental right of human beings when in fact you keep us as slaves? How is it that you treat us as beasts when we are human beings? More than that -- how can you call yourselves Christian people? Morgan Freeman, Narrator: A year later, yet another petition reached the new Massachusetts governor. Crafted by slaves, the words again would sound like a document that had yet to be written -- the Declaration of Independence. Voice Over: We have in common with all other men a natural right to our freedoms without being deprived of them by our fellow men. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: All the petitions were dismissed. Slaves could see the paradox. Thomas Jefferson -- still in his early thirties, spoke of slavery as a moral evil yet he was a prominent member of the Virginia slave holding class. Now he was at work on a document about equality and liberty. Voice Over: We hold these truths to be... Peter Wood: If I were Jupiter looking at my childhood friend Thomas Jefferson knowing the world we both grew up in I wouldn't be surprised by the contradictions that emerge in his thinking. Voice Over: Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Jim Horton: In some ways you know Thomas Jefferson is so like America itself. Thomas Jefferson expresses opinions in the Declaration of Independence that are wonderful examples of fairness, of a belief in human dignity and human freedom yet Thomas Jefferson is so contradictory because the man who writes the Declaration of Independence is the man that holds at one point almost 250 slaves or more. The country that says to the world we bring ourselves into existence on the principle of human freedom is the country that is, in many ways, founded on the principle of human slavery -- supported by that principle. That's a pretty substantial contradiction. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: April 1775. Open warfare broke out. Black people began choosing sides. In the North some 5,000 black men joined in mixed and all black regiments to fight on the side of the patriots some fought as minutemen in the earliest battles of the war. Black soldiers were badly needed because some white colonists were reluctant to serve. Initially, General Washington resisted arming black men. Sylvia R. Frey: For white Americans everywhere the image of a black soldier toting a gun evokes a totally disordered society -- complete disordering of the old society. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Washington relented when he heard what was happening further south. Word was spreading that the British were going to offer freedom to slaves who joined their side. Sylvia R. Frey: In November of 1775 Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, issued a proclamation offering freedom to enslaved people who fled to the British who joined his Ethiopian corp. Peter Wood: It has a tremendous effect and word spreads to other colonies. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: It was the rumor of Lord Dunmore's proclamation that probably inspired Titus to run away. After a stint in Dunmore's Ethiopian regiment Titus returned to the Monmouth New Jersey countryside. This time, he was leading a guerilla band of black and white raiders fighting for the British. Only now he was known as Colonel Tye. Colonel Tye and his band knew the landscape and the farmers in the region. They raided property and carried off cattle and clothing to deliver to British troops. They terrorized their former owners and kidnapped key patriot farmers most importantly they liberated their enslaved families and friends. Russell Hodges: New York was the cockpit of the revolution. Colonel Tye was somebody who was acting on a local level but his actions had continental importance. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: During a battle in September, 1780, Colonel Tye took a bullet in his wrist. Within days he died. Only 26 years old, he had fought in the revolution for five years. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Dunmore's offer of freedom coupled with the chaos of war led to a mass exodus from Southern plantations. Tens of thousands of slaves responded with their feet. The risks were huge. Peter Wood: There are tragic stories in Chesapeake Bay. Word is out that you can get on board a British ship. So you gather your family eight or ten people in a small boat you row out to the boat that's flying a British flag only to find out that it's a hoax that the patriots have run up a British flag in order to lure you on board arrest you punish you and send you back to the plantation. It's stories like that that break your heart. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Those slaves that reached the British forces were assigned the most arduous tasks -- building fortifications, hauling heavy equipment, digging ditches. They lived in miserable conditions in military camps and died by the thousands of smallpox. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: At the end of the war, thousands of former slaves were transported to freedom by the British. Many others were freed by fighting for the patriots. No other event until the civil war would liberate so many slaves. Jim Horton: The point in all this is that whether African Americans fought for the American cause or whether they fought for the British cause they were fighting for the central cause of freedom. That's what African Americans were fighting for. For them the revolution really was a freedom struggle. Voice Over: All men are born free and equal and have certain natural, essential and unalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: As the war was coming to an end, colonies began to write new constitutions. In 1780 the Massachusetts constitution was read aloud in every village including Sheffield where Mum Bett did errands. Soon after, Mum Bett knocked on the door of attorney Theodore Sedgwick. She knew him from the meetings at the Ashley house. Thomas Davis: She overheard Ashley and his colleagues talking about the rhetoric of independence. Talking about natural rights. Thomas Davis: Mum Bett essentially says we have this constitution that appears to announce a principle of each person being free. If that is the case then I am free. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Her meeting with Sedgwick led to a court suit in which Mum Bett and another slave of the household sued Colonel Ashley for their freedom. John Sedgwick: It wasn't just Theodore John Sedgwick going against Colonel Ashley, he hired (Theodore did) some of the best legal talent that could be found in the whole Southern New England. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: In 1781 Mum Bett won her case and announced that she would thereafter be known as Elizabeth Freeman. Her victory helped pave the way for the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts two years later. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: During the long hot summer of 1787 enslaved coachmen waited outside independence hall in Philadelphia -- inside their owners forged a constitution for the new republic. Peter Wood: The issue that was hardest for them to address was the issue of slavery and they simply postponed it all through that hot summer 'til the very end of their debates. And they finally brought it up and addressed it. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Most delegates -- north and south -- never considered eliminating slavery. It was clear any attempt at abolition would have ended the effort to create the United States. While the deals around slavery would shape the national debate for the next seventy years the words slave or slavery never appear in this founding document. Jim Horton: Now they do refer to the institution in several indirect ways. There is the notion that the slave trade will not be abolished for at least 20 years. There is the notion that a person who owes service to a master in one state cannot escape that service by removing himself to another state. Now that's kind of a Fugitive Slave clause but they don't use the word slave or slavery. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: The most politically significant deal embraced by the constitution was the three fifths-clause. It allowed states to count their enslaved population as three fifths of a person in determining representation in congress. Jim Horton: So the fact is that from the south's point of view they are getting additional political power as a result of their slave population. Except for the three-fifths compromise Jefferson would have lost that election in 1800. But the slaves are not being represented. The slaves get nothing from this. Peter Wood: And the republic that's created pays the price for that over the next many, many generations. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Black people were betrayed by the new constitution. But if doors were shutting, they now looked for windows to open. Ninety percent of blacks were still enslaved. But in Northern cities freed black communities were organizing themselves. In Southern cities black artisans were buying their freedom. Both groups ignited an emancipation movement. It began with the founding of the first black Christian churches. Sylvia R. Frey: It reinforced family and community. It provided the opportunity for men and women to exercise leadership roles. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Blacks had been slow to accept a religion that they associated with slavery and their masters, but in the mid-18th century a protestant revival movement called the great awakening introduced a more democratic and expressive form of Christianity and some blacks caught the spirit. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Some slave owners -- inspired by the values of the great awakening and the principles of the new nation -- began to free their slaves. Not Thomas Jefferson. In the 1780's Jefferson published his only book -- NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA. In it he argued against this "great political and moral evil" of slavery yet at the same time he wrote that blacks were mentally inferior to whites. Jefferson quote from NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA: "... It appears to me in memory they are equal; to whites, In reason much inferior." Thomas Davis: He suggests that they're not as bright as smart, as intellectually gifted. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Jefferson's theories fueled both sides of the slavery debate. And while he wrote that black people should be free, he never used his power to free them, including during his presidency. Instead he supported shipping former slaves to Africa. Thomas Davis: Jefferson apparently believed that you cannot have emancipation without having colonization. Which is to say that we can't just let them be free here. That won't work. So if we are going to emancipate them we have to send them somewhere else. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: While some blacks supported colonization most leaders in the freed black communities of the north denounced the idea. Jim Horton: You know one of the things that these free blacks said is "I'm a citizen of the United States. My father my grandfather fought in the American Revolution to bring this nation into existence. I have as much right to be in America, to live in America as anybody here." Morgan Freeman, Narrator: The generation of blacks born in the late 18th century were raised on the promises of the revolution and the frustrations of its aftermath. Among them was David Walker. Brought up in the south, Walker would move north to take the emerging abolitionist movement to another level. Walker was born free in the 1790s in Wilmington, North Carolina. He probably learned to read and write in one of Wilmington's first black Christian churches. Jim Horton: These are places, which are not only religious places. These are places where political decisions are made, political meetings are held. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: By roughly 1820 David Walker made his way to Charleston. There he was exposed to the ideas of Denmark Vesey. A freed carpenter, Vesey was a leader in the new African Methodist Episcopal church. Peter Hinks: David Walker learns from Denmark Vesey that the bible could be a very, very important tool in giving blacks a strength to resist their enslavement. And he sees how the church in Charleston could be a center for organizing blacks just in terms of numbers and also ideologically rallying them. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Vesey like many blacks -- enslaved and free -- had also digested the news about the Haitian revolution -- the slave rebellion which created the first black republic. By 1822 -- while David Walker was in Charleston -- Vesey was organizing a massive rebellion. But someone leaked it. And Vesey -- along with more than 30 others -- was executed. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: After that failed rebellion, Walker made his way to Boston. There he would discover not only a virulent racism against black men and women, but a growing political consciousness in the freed black community. In 1820s Boston, Walker became a leading voice in local black churches and organizations... Jim Horton: He is a member of the Massachusetts Colored Association. ...a black society specifically focused on abolition. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: In 1829 Walker sat down to distill his experiences, his analysis of slavery and his rage. He wrote what came to be known as the most important abolitionist document of the nineteenth century. He called it AN APPEAL TO THE COLORED CITIZENS OF THE WORLD, but in particular, and very expressly, to those of the United States of America. Carla Peterson: This is an amazing document and we can take it as the first maybe expression of Black Nationalism in this country. And basically this is a verbal call to arms asking the African-American community to come together and empower itself. Walker's voice: America is more our country than it is the whites. We have enriched it with our blood and tears. Thomas Davis: The appeal itself lays out the full history of argument against slavery, against slaveholding. Walker's voice: Oh, my colored brethren -- all over the world! When shall we arise from this death-like apathy? And be Men!! Thomas Davis: More than that it is addressed to the colored people of America saying to them that they have a single aspiration and that single aspiration is freedom. Walker's voice: We must and shall be free. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Walker modeled the appeal on the constitution and he drew from the Declaration of Independence and the bible. Jim Horton: He says Jefferson and America are hypocrites. Walker's voice: See your Declaration Americans! Do you understand your own language? Jim Horton: He says that America is not doing what it professes to do. It is not expressing the values that it says it believes in. Walker's voice: "We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal" -- compare your own language above extracted from your Declaration of Independence, with your cruelties and murders. Jim Horton: He says Christians are not living up to the values of Christianity. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: In the appeal Walker directly confronts Jefferson's arguments about black people in his notes on the state of Virginia. Walker's voice: Has Mr. Jefferson declared to the world that we are inferior to the whites? Peter Hinks: He believed that racism had become so insidious that it was profoundly demoralizing blacks making them incapable of acting against the terrible oppression which weighed on them. ...and his hope was that the APPEAL would serve to motivate African Americans to fight that. Walker's voice: We can help ourselves Thomas Davis: One of the tremendous elements of David Walker's APPEAL is his reach into the psyche of blacks. To say first and foremost that we need to think together as a people, but also to focus on the individual. And in as sense to say change begins with you. And you must begin to think differently. Not only to think of us collectively as a single people sharing an ultimate aim of freedom but to think of yourself differently -- to think of yourself as an agent of freedom. Thomas Davis: And what Walker does in his APPEAL in 1829 is to say "listen if emancipation is not forthcoming blood will flow, oceans and oceans of blood." Walker's voice: I call God! I call Angels! I call men! To witness that your destruction is at hand! Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Walker distributed his APPEAL up and down the Atlantic seaboard. He mailed copies to ministers who would read it to the illiterate. The APPEAL was even discovered in the hands of runaways in North Carolina. Peter Hinks: Black activists in the 1830s talk of gathering with others in their communities to have the APPEAL read to them, to fire them , to give them increased inspiration to continue on with their struggle and to help them understand what it was they were fighting. Jim Horton: As you might well imagine this is shocking and frightening to slave holders. Immediately many Southern states put out bounties on David Walker' head. They want David Walker delivered from Massachusetts to a variety of places in the south. Jim Horton: 'Course Southern slaveholders were well aware that there had been many slave rebellions and attempted rebellions all along but this was particularly frightening because it was an appeal issued by a free black man outside of the south. In other words -- outside of the direct control of slaveholders. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: One of the people who responded to Walker's charge was the young Maria Stewart who in 1826 married a free and successful Boston shipping agent. Born free, Maria was orphaned at age five and immediately sent into domestic service. She probably learned to read and write in a black church. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Three years after her wedding to James Stewart, he died. Carla Peterson: And although he had been fairly prosperous it turns out that upon his death he had been defrauded by some white businessmen who were his colleagues. And so Maria Stewart was not only widowed but also left destitute. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: A year later she received more devastating news. Her mentor, David Walker, was found dead in his Boston doorway. Jim Horton: There is reason to believe that he may have been assassinated by someone operating on behalf of those people who were felt directly threatened by his appeal for slave rebellion. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: His compounding losses sparked a religious conversion with political implications. Carla Peterson: She sees herself as picking up the torch from David Walker and carrying his work forward. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Stewart began to write -- and speak in public. Marilyn Richardson: You see her speaking things such as "I committed myself to a life of virtue and piety and I understood that I might be a warrior and a martyr for the cause of God and my brethren." Well virtue and piety are perfectly reasonable. It was a woman's sphere it was not a radical position at all. But then in the same sentence the same sentence here come the words warrior and martyr and God and my brethren. And then she goes right on to say all of the nations of the world are crying out for freedom and independence. And can the sons of Africa, remain silent under the heal of tyranny. . And it's unprecedented in African-American intellectual history. Stewart's voice: Why should man any longer deprive his fellow man of equal rights and privileges? Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Maria Stewart was the first American woman to address a mixed audience of men and women about political issues. In it's time, it was a bold and controversial act. Stewart's voice: Stewart's voice -- Possess the spirit of independence. The Americans do, and why should not you? Marilyn Richardson for Maria Stewart the highest form of obedience to god was political protest. Morgan Freeman, Narrator: Drawing inspiration from the bible to oppose slavery, Stewart's special concern was the condition of black women. Stewart's voice: How long shall the fair daughters of Africa be compelled to bury their minds and talents beneath a load of iron pots and kettles? Morgan Freeman, Narrator: In the early 1830s Maria Stewart made a number of speeches to black organizations in Boston. In her passion to challenge her audiences to become leaders, she seemed to offend both the men and the women. Stewart: Throw off your fearfulness. Carla Peterson: She's very, very hard on black men and accuses them of being servile, faithless, frivolous, passive. Stewart's voice: And make yourselves useful and active members in society. Carla Peterson: And she's telling them to get up off their duffs and be active and to be men. So what man wants to be told to be a man? Stewart's voice: Have the sons of Africa no souls? Feel they no ambitious desires? Jim Horton: But her words are very important -- and that is African Americans must depend foremost on themselves. They must take the lead themselves. They must uplift the race. That's the way they put it in the 19th century. They must uplift the race. And she was critical of anyone in African-American community who was not working in every way possible to uplift the race. Carla Peterson: David Walker and Maria Stewart are so important for African-American history in a sense we could think of them as our founding father and mother because they are really our first black nationalists. They are the first to have a sense of African-American people as constituting almost a nation within a nation. We are a nation within a nation and we need to figure out where we go from here. Jim Horton: They really foreshadow a coming more militant generation. That generation will use the words, the sentiments, the strategies of Walker and Maria Stewart. Marilyn Richardson: What David Walker and what Maria Stewart understood was that slavery in the south and discrimination would not die as a result of moral persuasion or political activity. Because they understood that the first abolitionist in America was the first black person brought off of a ship in chains. They understood only war would bring about the possibility of emancipation of blacks in America. - sources - http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/about/ https://thepiratebay.org/torrent/3944415/Slavery_and_the_Making_of_America_%282005%29_%28PBS%29_%28Four_Part_Docume http://dla.library.upenn.edu/dla/vcat/record.html?id=VCAT_4129677 - Supporta i produttori acquistando la serie della PBS http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/about/buy.html
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