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Overview of Films

The Abolitionists DVD Cover image

The Abolitionists

(2013, 180 minutes)

The Abolitionists vividly brings to life the struggles of the men and women who led the battle to end slavery. Through innovative use of reenactments, this three-episode series puts a face on the anti-slavery movement—or rather, five faces: William Lloyd Garrison, impassioned New England newspaper editor; Frederick Douglass, former slave, author, and activist; Angelina Grimké, daughter of a rich South Carolina slaveholder; Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the enormously influential Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and John Brown, ultimately executed for his armed seizure of the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. The film’s release in 2013 also marked the 150th anniversary year of the Emancipation Proclamation.

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Written, produced and directed by Rob Rapley. Edited by John Chimples & Al Jernon Tunsh. Cinematography by Tim Cragg. Narrated by Oliver Platt. Music by Tim Phillips. Executive Producer Sharon Grimberg. American Experience is a production of WGBH Boston. Senior Producer Sharon Grimberg. Executive Producer Mark Samels.



Slavery By Another DVD cover image

Slavery by Another Name

(2012, 90 minutes)

It was a shocking reality that often went unacknowledged, then and now: a huge system of forced, unpaid labor, mostly affecting Southern black men, that lasted until World War II. Based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning book by Douglas Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name tells the stories of men, charged with crimes like vagrancy, and often guilty of nothing, who were bought and sold, abused, and subjected to sometimes deadly working conditions as unpaid convict labor. Interviews with the descendants of victims and perpetrators resonate with a modern audience. Christina Comer, who discovered how her family profited from the system, says that “the story is important no matter how painful the reality is.”

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A production of TPT National Productions in association with Two Dollars & A Dream, Inc. Produced and directed by Sam Pollard. Executive Producer Catherine Allan. Co-Executive Producer Douglas A. Blackmon. Written by Sheila Curran Bernard. Edited by Jason Pollard. Narrated by Laurence Fishburne. Original Score by Michael Bacon. Chief Content Officer Terry O’Reilly. Executive in Charge of Production Gerry Richman.



Loving Story DVD cover image

The Loving Story

(2011, 77 minutes)

Mildred and Richard Loving knew it was technically illegal for them to live as a married couple in Virginia because she was of African American and Native American descent and he was white. But they never expected to be woken up in their bedroom and arrested one night in 1958. The documentary brings to life the Lovings’ marriage and the legal battle that followed through little-known filmed interviews and photographs shot for Life magazine.

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An Augusta Films Production. Directed by Nancy Burski. Produced by Nancy Burski and Elisabeth Haviland James. Edited by Elisabeth Haviland James. Writers Nancy Burski and Susie Ruth Powell. Executive Producers Scott Berrie and Marshall Sonenshine. Co-Producer Patricia Romeu. Still Photography Grey Villet. Archival Footage by Hope Ryden. Cinematography by Rex Miller, Steve Milligan and Abbott Mills. Original Music David Majzun. Music Supervisor Susan Jacobs. A co-production of HBO Documentary Films. Distributed by Icarus Films.



Freedom Riders DVD cover image

Freedom Riders

(2011, 120 minutes)

Attracting a diverse group of volunteers—black and white, young and old, male and female, secular and religious, northern and southern—the Freedom Rides of 1961 took the civil rights struggle out of the courtroom and onto the streets of the Jim Crow South. Freedom Riders tells the terrifying, moving, and suspenseful story of a time when white and black volunteers riding a bus into the Deep South risked being jailed, beaten, or killed, as white local and state authorities ignored or encouraged violent attacks. The film includes previously unseen amateur 8mm footage of the burning bus on which some Freedom Riders were temporarily trapped, taken by a local twelve-year-old and held as evidence since 1961 by the FBI.

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A Film by Stanley Nelson. A Firelight Media production for American Experience. Written, produced, and directed by Stanley Nelson. Produced by Laurens Grant. Editors Lewis Erskine and Al Jernon Tunsh. Original Concept Developed by Paul Taylor. Archival Producer Lewanne Jones. Associate Producer Stacey Holman. Director of Photography Robert Shepard. Composer Tom Phillips. Based in part on the book Freedom Riders by Raymond Arsenault. American Experience is a production of WGBH Boston. Senior Producer Sharon Grimberg. Executive Producer Mark Samels.



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For Teachers

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- Equality Under the Law
- The Power of the Individual
- The Strategy of Nonviolence

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The NEH Created Equal project uses the power of documentary films to encourage public conversations about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in America.

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