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While the Northern states adopted laws to abolish and phase out slavery, in the southern United States, slavery entered the period of its greatest expansion as cotton became the country’s most valuable crop. The abolitionist movement, led by Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and others, gathered strength in the North, contributing to the widening fissure and imminent break-up of the nation.
The complexities of the Civil War and Reconstruction are chronicled through the experience of South Carolina slave Robert Smalls. The formation of militant groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, threatened the future of racial equality and segregation laws began to appear across the country. Slavery's eradication had not brought an end to black oppression.
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- Premiered: February 9, 2005
- Rating: TV-PG
- Premise: This four-hour report traces the history of slavery in the U.S. and explores the economic impact of `the founding fathers you never knew,' as narrator Morgan Freeman puts it. Written and produced by Dante J. James, the executive producer of the 2003 PBS se… (more)