UC Berkeley Library

African American History to 1900 Slavery The Civil War and Reconstruction

The Language You Cry In: The Story of a Mende Song . (Library of African Cinema.)

The film tells an amazing scholarly detective story reaching across hundreds of years and thousands of miles from 18th century Sierra Leone to the Gullah people of present-day Georgia. It recounts the even more remarkable saga of how African Americans retained links with their African past through a song, a burial hymn of the Mende people brought by slaves to the rice plantations of the Southeast coast more than two hundred years ago. In English and Mende with English subtitles. 53 min.

The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry.

This film tells the story of the first officially sanctioned regiment of Northern Black soldiers in the Civil War. 60 min.
Full-text review from: ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for LibrariesReviews and articles: Shearer, Jacqueline. "How Deep, How Wide? Perspectives on the Making of The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry." In: Black Women Film and Video Artists / edited by Jacqueline Bobo. pp: 109-123. New York: Routledge, 1998. AFI Film Readers. (Main Stack PN1998.2.B57 1998)

The Odyssey of Captain Healy.

Mike Healy, born a slave on a Georgia plantation in 1839, ran way to sea winding up on San Francisco's Barbary Coast. With the purchase of the Alaska Territory Healy's career took off. Passing as a white man on board the cutter Bear, he represented the U.S. government and its justice in the Artic. He charted and patrolled the treacherous waters of the Bering Sea, confronted the rum-runners and poachers and foresaw the extermination of marine animals caused by unrestrained harvesting.

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

A 4-part series offering the first comprehensive look at race relations in America between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement presenting the context in which the laws of segregation known as the "Jim Crow" system originated and developed. A film by Bill Jersey, c2002. 56 min. each installment

The Songs Are Free.(World of Ideas with Bill Moyers)

Traces the history of communal singing and the musical repertoire rooted in the Black church -- from songs of resistance, courage, and pride to songs of determination and faith -- and explores their roles from the Underground Railroad through the Civil Rights movement and into the 1990's. 1997. 58 min.

Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep South

Katrina Browne makes a troubling discovery--her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine fellow descendants set off to retrace the Triangle Trade: from their old hometown in Rhode Island to slave forts in Ghana to sugar plantation ruins in Cuba. Step by step, they uncover the vast extent of Northern complicity in slavery while also navigating their way through the minefield of contemporary race relations. Directed, produced & written by Katrina Browne. 2008. 86 min.

Unchained Memories: Readings From the Slave Narratives

When the Civil War ended in 1865, more than 4 million slaves were set free. By the late 1930's, 100,000 former slaves were still alive. In the midst of the Great Depression, journalists and writers traveled the country to record the memories of the last generation of African-Americans born into bondage. Over 2,000 interviews were transcribed as spoken, in the vernacular of the time, to form a unique historical record.

Underground Railroad

Tells the story of the struggle to break the bonds of slavery in the American South: a story of secret codes, hidden way-stations and clandenstine "conductors." A story not of a railway, but of a loosely organized network of runaway slaves, freed blacks and anti-slavery whites, all willing to risk their lives in the name of liberty. Presenting dramatic re-creations of escapes, this documentary also chronicles the achievements of abolitionist figures Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman and William Lloyd Garrison. c1999. 100 min.

Unearthing the Slave Trade.

On the eve of the American Revolution, New York City had the largest number of enslaved Africans of any colonial settlement outside Charleston. Though this has seldom been acknowledged, African labor was essential in the building of New York. Today, archeological excavation of sites on both sides of the Atlantic is bringing to light aspects of the slave trade long buried in the liberal minds of those north of the Mason-Dixon line. Dist.: Films Media Group. 28 min.

Up From Slavery

A seven part series documenting the history of slavery in America from colonial times to after the Civil War. America was founded upon the idea that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The nation would pay a bloody cost for denying that right to more than twelve percent of its population. But when slavery was first brought to America's shores, this war, and even the nation it tore apart, was centuries in the future.

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