Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Abolitionists on PBS

This week (check your local listings) PBS begins a three-part series called The Abolitionists.  The series combines historic photographs and living history recreations to tell the story of fight to end slavery.

Frederick Douglas
The story focuses on the five leading protagonists of the movement to emancipate blacks and end slavery: Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimké, John Brown, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.  Their stories bring the struggle to end this institution to life.   You might want to read about these characters before you watch the first episode toinight.

The documentary opens with a segment on the deeply religious Grimké. The vocal abolitionist had no concern about renouncing her heritage as a member of a rich, plantation-owning clan in Charleston, S.C. As a daughter of privilege, Grimké saw the horrors of slavery firsthand and became one of the most outspoken foes of slavery. See preview of Chapter 1.

Uncle Tom's Cabin
As usual PBS provides a fine web site to support the series.  Please see  Why We Made The Abolitionists, The Abolistionist Map of America, and Teacher's Guide.

Set your video to record this series or order you own copy for $19.99 from the PBS Store.


Allen Mesch said...

A couple of comments after watching last night's episode of The Abolitionists. The program introduced Angelina Grimke to many Americans who had never heard about her efforts. I thought the story was interesting in presenting the religious idea that slaveholders could be "converted" overnight when faced with the evils of slavery. The other concept that was nicely illustrated was that racism was very prevalent in the North and fears about free blacks produced violent, unexpected responses from citizens.

Allen Mesch said...

The econd episode of The Abolitionists focused on Frederick Douglas. We learned about his relationship with William Garrison and John Brown. It was particularly interesting to see how the abolitionists became frustrated with the Government (Fugitive Slave Act) and their own efforts. Their appeals to Christian charity and common sense fell on deaf ears. These responses remind me of the current conflict in Washington over "gun control" and the deficit. Compromise seems to be as dirty a word today as it was in the 1850s.