Movie Details

An historical event in itself, this ambitious documentary series from WGBH Boston reexamines the institutions and personal narratives behind America's heritage of slavery, disclosing and inviting viewers to face the undeniable truths they might not have learned in school, truths that still influence life in America. Volume One covers the period from 1450 to 1750: the origins of indentured servitude in Europe, the Portuguese search for gold in Africa and subsequent capture of African laborers, and the growth of the Caribbean and North American colonies. The title, The Terrible Transformation, refers to several concurrent transformations in America, including the slow, deliberate process in which indentured servants became slaves for life, the transformation of free colonies into slave states, and the loss of hope among Africans who began to realize that their children would inherit the scourge of slavery. Finally, this documentary covers the history of preexisting forms of "slavery" in Africa, the Middle Passage in which half of the human cargo perished, the bondage of European laborers in the New World, and the economic realities that fostered the slave system. Africans in America relies heavily on rare images and first-person accounts for its startling revelations and dramatic reenactments. It also features modern perspectives and interpretations by prominent cultural and academic figures, including John Edgar Wideman, Barry Unsworth, and Colin Powell. Ideal for educational use. ~ Sarah Welsh, Rovi