Slavery and the Making of America
Kathryn Grover writer, reporter
Vivian Johnson professor emeritus, Boston University
Charles J. Ogletree Jr. professor, Harvard Law School
Charles Ogletree, Vivian Johnson and Kathryn Grover discuss PBS's new series Slavery and the Making of America after a special public preview screening. With 139 years separating us from the official end of slavery, the oppression that marked the first two centuries of American history may seem like an ugly, but ancient, chapter from a school book. But from the village that would one day become Manhattan to the small tobacco farms of British Virginia, from the sweltering fields of lucrative Carolina plantations to the construction sites of icons like the US Capitol, it was millions of enslaved men, women, and children who turned a barely charted territory with a shaky future into one of the strongest and richest nations in the world.
Hour two of the series, discussed here, focuses on the Northeast, and includes the story of Mum Bett, who sued for her freedom in Massachusetts. Her victory led to the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts in 1783.
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