Slavery By Another Name
Airs Monday, February 13, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV
Thursday, February 9, 2012
"Slavery By Another Name" challenges one of America's most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. This documentary tells a harrowing story of how in the South, even as chattel slavery came to an end, new forms of involuntary servitude, including convict leasing, debt slavery and peonage, took its place with shocking force -- brutalizing and ultimately circumscribing the lives of hundreds of thousands of African Americans well into the 20th century.
Map and Timeline of Slavery in America
Learn more about slavery after the Civil War by scrolling through the timeline and map. Points on the map include photos, videos and more information about key dates in United States history.
It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold and coerced to do the bidding of masters.
The program spans eight decades, from 1865 to 1945, revealing the interlocking forces in both the South and the North that enabled this "neoslavery" to begin and persist.
Using archival photographs and dramatic re-enactments, filmed on location in Alabama and Georgia, it tells the forgotten stories of both victims and perpetrators of neoslavery and includes interviews with their descendants living today.
The program also features interviews with Douglas Blackmon, author of the Pulitzer Prize- winning book "Slavery by Another Name" and with leading scholars of this period. Actor Laurence Fishburne (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” Thurgood) narrates.
For most Americans this is entirely new history. "Slavery by Another Name" gives voice to the largely forgotten victims and perpetrators of forced labor and features their descendants living today.
“The Thirteenth Amendment states that slavery was abolished, except as a punishment for a crime,” says author and co-executive producer Blackmon. “So across the South, laws were passed to criminalize everyday African-American life. It was a crime for a black man to walk beside a railroad, to speak loudly in the company of white women, to do someone’s laundry without a license, to sell cotton after dark. But the most damaging statutes were around vagrancy. If you couldn’t prove your employment at any moment, you were a criminal.”