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Created Equal Excerpt Reel

In this reel, excerpts from each of the four films are preceded by text cards that place the clips in context. Event hosts may play the reel straight through or pause between clips for questions and discussion.

Excerpt One from The Abolitionists, Part III (13 minutes)

The clip opens with Frederick Douglass and John Brown meeting just prior to Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859. We follow the story of the unsuccessful raid, Brown’s passionate speeches at his trial, and his execution. Douglass is forced to flee to Canada and William Lloyd Garrison concedes that the abolition movement was moving beyond the non-violent strategy of “moral suasion.”

Excerpt Two from Slavery by Another Name (11 minutes)

The clip begins with a dramatic reading of Ezekiel Archey’s 1884 letters that detailed the horrid conditions of the Pratt Coal Mines in Alabama. Cristina Comer, a descendant of J.W. Comer, describes her reaction when she learned her “self-made” relative was a brutal slaveholder whose business relied heavily on convict leasing.  The clip ends with a discussion of the economic framework that sustained the convict leasing system.

Excerpt Three from Freedom Riders (9 minutes)

The clip begins just after an initial group of freedom riders are escorted out of Mississippi by the Kennedy administration and presents the story of the second wave of freedom riders, primarily students, who are intent on finishing what the first wave started, regardless of the personal consequences.

Excerpt Four from The Loving Story (10 minutes)

Mildred Loving recalls her unhappiness living away from family; she and her husband were raising their children in Washington, DC because of Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.  She reads the letter she sent to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who suggested she contact the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU lawyers describe the case they intend to mount and historians analyze the purpose of anti-miscegenation laws.

Total Running Time: 43 minutes

We also encourage you to consider sharing with audiences two short videos produced for the Created Equal initiative which are available on this site:

  • Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture, explains why the Created Equal films matter to all Americans. Link...
  • Past NEH Chairman James Leach and social historian Earl Lewis introduce the Created Equal initiative and the contribution the four featured films make in documenting and understanding U.S. civil rights history. Link...

You’ll find a list of additional clip suggestions in the Programming Guide (page 28). Link...

For Teachers

Explore Created Equal in the Classroom:

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

Community Programs

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.

Changing America Exhibit

Find a "Changing America" exhibit in your community.