Movie Details

In the years between 1791 and 1831, with the United States newly independent, the Enlightenment spirit of equality and freedom stood directly at odds with the demands of economic expediency. The invention of the cotton gin caused an insatiable demand for cheap labor and led to an ever more vocal proslavery constituency, but abolitionism was also beginning to catch on. Volume Three of WGBH's Africans in America series looks at this tempestuous era through the lives of the dynamic men and women who fought either to maintain or to revolutionize their way of life. The booming urban environment of Philadelphia is covered extensively, including the growth of a black middle class, Absalom Jones' and Richard Allen's Free African Society, the Yellow Fever epidemic, female activism, Benjamin Franklin's involvement with the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, and the proposal by some to create a free black homeland back in Africa. The slave revolt in Haiti and several organized rebellions in America are also discussed. ~ Sarah Welsh, Rovi