In the mid-19th century, the abolitionist movement in the United States sought the immediate emancipation of all enslaved people. These passionate antislavery activists—men and women, black and white, northerners and southerners, poor and wealthy—led the struggle that forever changed the nation.
On Sunday, February 19, there will be a screening of The Abolitionists, from PBS’ American Experience. This showing is provided through public performance rights via EVPL’s Kanopy collection. If you can’t make it on February 19, watch anytime with your EVPL card on Kanopy.
Description from WGBH: Radicals. Agitators. Troublemakers. Liberators. Called by many names, the abolitionists tore the nation apart in order to create a more perfect union. Men and women, black and white, Northerners and Southerners, poor and wealthy, these passionate anti-slavery activists fought body and soul in the most important civil rights crusade in American history. What began as a pacifist movement fueled by persuasion and prayer became a fiery and furious struggle that forever changed the nation.
Bringing to life the intertwined stories of Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimké, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown, The Abolitionists takes place during some of the most violent and contentious decades in American history, amid white-hot religious passions that set souls on fire, and bitter debates over the meaning of the Constitution and the nature of race. It reveals how the movement shaped history by exposing the fatal flaw of a republic founded on liberty for some and bondage for others, setting the nation on a collision course. In the face of personal risks — beatings, imprisonment, even death — abolitionists held fast to their cause, laying the civil rights groundwork for the future and raising weighty constitutional and moral questions that are with us still.
Captioning provided on screen. Originally aired on PBS, January 2013.
Director: Rob Rapley
Cast: Oliver Platt, Richard Brooks, Neal Huff, Jeanine Serralles, Kate Lyn Sheil, T. Ryder Smith
Take a look at The Abolitionists Interviews, provided by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The Abolitionists Interview Collection is comprised of 51 raw interviews from the three-part American Experience miniseries of the same name, which aired on PBS in 2013.
The series follows the lives of prominent abolitionists including Frederick Douglass, John Brown, Angelina Grimké, William Lloyd Garrison, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and explores differing and often conflicting approaches to abolishing slavery in the United States.
The Abolitionists interviews examine the historical contexts of the subjects and their lasting legacy on American history and law. Interviews were conducted with authors, educators, and historians, including Manisha Sinha, Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; James Brewer Stewart, Professor of History at Macalester College, and Founder of Historians Against Slavery; John Stauffer, author and Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University; and Lois Brown, Professor of African American Studies at Wesleyan University. Subjects discussed include abolition, slavery, racism, the American Constitution, Christianity, civil rights, and the American Civil War.
Jake is a Reference Librarian at EVPL Central. He loves discovering answers to life’s pressing questions and helping people explore the amazing powers of the library.
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