Bbased on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Wall Street Journal senior writer Douglas A. Blackmon. A production of tpt National Productions and written by Sheila Curran Bernard, the film was an official selection in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold, and coerced to do the bidding of masters. Tolerated by both the North and South, forced labor lasted well into the 20th century.
Available on DVD from PBS Distribution February 21st
Narrated by Acclaimed Actor Laurence Fishburne
Arlington, Va. - February 3, 2012 - PBS Distribution today announced it is releasing Slavery By Another Name on DVD, a new 90-minute documentary that challenges one of Americans' most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. Produced and directed by filmmaker Sam Pollard and narrated by actor Laurence Fishburne ("The Matrix," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"), Slavery By Another Name is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Wall Street Journal senior writer Douglas A. Blackmon. A production of tpt National Productions and written by Sheila Curran Bernard, the film was an official selection in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The DVD will be available on February 21, 2012 for a suggested retail price of $24.99.
Program Synopsis Slavery By Another Name relates that even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold, and coerced to do the bidding of masters. Tolerated by both the North and South, forced labor lasted well into the 20th century.
"The Thirteenth Amendment states that slavery was abolished, except as a punishment for a crime," says author and co-executive producer Blackmon. "So across the South, laws were passed to criminalize everyday African-American life. It was a crime for a black man to walk beside a railroad, to speak loudly in the company of white women, to do someone's laundry without a license, to sell cotton after dark. But the most damaging statutes were around vagrancy. If you couldn't prove your employment at any moment, you were a criminal."
Once convicted, African Americans were leased to coal mines, brick-yards, plantations and turpentine farms and forced to work without pay. They were shackled, imprisoned and often tortured. Thousands died.
Effects of these horrifying practices resonate today. Sharon Malone (physician and wife of Attorney General Eric Holder), whose uncle fell victim to Alabama's forced labor system, summarizes its isolating effect: "My father never talked a lot about his time growing up in the South. There was so little that I actually knew about the generations before my parents...We have been, as African Americans in this country, deprived of the ability for really connecting with our ancestors."
Descendants of forced labor's purveyors are not immune to these practices' "aftershocks." Susan Tuggle Burnore, whose great-grandfather, a farmer named John Williams, murdered eleven laborers held illegally on his farm, says that he "did it in the most horrific ways that you can imagine, that I really can't talk about. I get so emotional. There was an attitude, a set of beliefs that said this kind of cruelty was somehow acceptable.
"It's a brutal topic," said producer/director Sam Pollard. "Forced labor practices, including inmate leasing and peonage, totally circumscribed the lives of hundreds of thousands of African Americans well into the 20th century. Most Americans are totally unaware of--and shocked by--this history, which is why we found it so imperative to translate Doug's incredible book into a film."
Slavery By Another Name is executive produced by Catherine Allan, whose films include the acclaimed feature documentary HOOP DREAMS and the Peabody Award-winning LIBERTY! THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. The film is edited by Jason Pollard, co-editor of Sing Your Song, a film about Harry Belafonte that was an Official Selection of the Sundance Film Festival 2011. The original score is by composer Michael Bacon, whose score for THE KENNEDYS on PBS won an Emmy.
Major funding for Slavery By Another Name is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company and the CPB/PBS Diversity and Innovation Fund. Additional funding is provided by Georgia-Pacific, KeyBank Foundation and Merck; and by the General Mills Foundation; the Omicron Member Boule of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Minneapolis; and Frances Wilkinson.
About tpt National Productions Slavery By Another Name is produced by tpt National Productions, a division of Twin Cities Public Television (tpt), the PBS affiliate for Minneapolis/St. Paul. TPT National Productions is among the primary content producers for the public television system. In addition to crafting award-winning series, documentaries and specials, tpt National Productions amplifies its reach and impact through innovative websites, educational outreach programs and community engagement initiatives. TPT productions include national Primetime Emmy Award winners BENJAMIN FRANKLIN and THE FORGETTING: A PORTRAIT OF ALZHEIMER'S; Peabody winner DEPRESSION: OUT OF THE SHADOWS and HOOP DREAMS; and Writer's Guild Award Nominees ALEXANDER HAMILTON and DOLLEY MADISON.
About PBS Distribution •PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally. Jointly owned by PBS (Arlington, VA) and WGBH (Boston, MA), PBS Distribution extends the reach of public television programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system and our production partners.
PBS Distribution offers a diverse range of programming to our customers, including Ken Burns's films (Prohibition, The National Parks, The War, Baseball, Jazz), documentaries from award-winning series NOVA (The Elegant Universe, Origins), FRONTLINE (God in America, Bush's War, Growing Up Online), and American Experience (Freedom Riders, We Shall Remain), dramas from Masterpiece (Downton Abbey, Jane Eyre, Inspector Lewis), films from independent producers (Easy Yoga for Arthritis, The Buddha, The Story of India, Carrier, Journey into Buddhism, I.O.U.S.A.), and popular children's programming from Dinosaur Train, Super Why!, WordGirl, Cyberchase, Martha Speaks, and Arthur. As a multi-channel distributor, PBS Distribution pursues wholesale/retail sales, consumer and educational sales through PBS- branded catalogs and online shops, and international broadcast and video sales. PBS distribution is also a leader in offering programming through digital platforms including the internet, mobile, and web-connected television.
Slavery By Another Name
Street Date: February 21, 2012
Run Time: 90 Minutes