Slavery by Another Name

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SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME is a 90-minute documentary that challenges one of Americans' most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality.

Major funding for SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME provided by National Endowment for the Humanities, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company and CPB/PBS Diversity & Innovation Fund. Additional funding by Georgia-Pacific, KeyBank Foundation and Merck.

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About the Show

Slavery by Another Name “resets” our national clock with a singular astonishing fact: Slavery in America didn’t end 150 years ago, with Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Based on Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, the film illuminates how in the years following the Civil War, insidious new forms of forced labor emerged in the American South, persisting until the onset of World War II.

The film, shot on location in both Birmingham and Atlanta, is built on Blackmon’s extensive research, as well as interviews with scholars and experts about this historic period. It also incorporates interviews with people living today, including several African American “descendants” of victims of forced labor who discovered their connection to this history after reading Blackmon’s book.

“As I’ve traveled, discussing the book and meeting readers, a stream of African-Americans have related to me how the book made them reassess their own family histories,” said Blackmon. “So many people tell me they were uncertain about accounts passed down by forebears which seemed to suggest that families were still being held as neo-slaves in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Then they read the book and realized that in fact the old stories are very likely to be true–that thousands of people were living in a state of involuntary servitude well into the lives of millions of Americans who are still alive today.”

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