Slavery and the Making of America

  • 2005
  • 1 Season
  • TV-PG

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 series `This Far by Faith: African-American Spiritual Journeys.'

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Available to Stream

Season 1, Episode 3 Seeds of Destruction

First Aired: February 16, 2005

Part 3 covers the first half of the 19th century, when slavery was rejuvenated by the Louisiana Purchase and the cotton gin. Cotton was now immensely profitable, making slaves “the most valuable things in the nation beside the land itself,” says historian James Oliver Morton. But cruelty to slaves was increasing, too, as was opposition to it, and this hour focuses on horrors that individuals faced. One, Harriet Jacobs, would find a way to fight back: she escaped, then published her story.

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