The History of American Slavery

The History of American Slavery

With the help of acclaimed historians and writers, Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie explore the history of American slavery and examine how the institution came to shape our country’s politics, economy, and culture. (This series was originally published in 2015, thanks to the support of Slate Plus.)... Show More

Episodes

February 1, 2020 60 min
This episode was originally released in 2015. In Episode 9, the finale episode of the History of American Slavery, hosts Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie discuss emancipation. They examine how emancipation was more a process than an overnight change, and they compare the different ways it was enacted in the South and throughout the United States. They also discuss how people sought to rebuild their lives and reunite their families o...
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February 1, 2020 56 min
This episode was originally released in 2015. In Episode 8 of the History of American Slavery, hosts Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie discuss the small minority of people who escaped slavery during the 1850s and 1860s and the people who helped them along the way. They examine our evolving and sometimes selective historical memory of the Underground Railroad. They also explore the legal environment that confronted fugitives and their...
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February 1, 2020 52 min
This episode was originally released in 2015. In Episode 7 of the History of American Slavery, hosts Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie explore how science and medicine interacted with slavery in antebellum America. They discuss how doctors such as J. Marion Sims used human experimentation on enslaved subjects to help advance the practice of medicine. And they explore how scientific racism, as practiced by doctors such as Samuel Cartw...
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February 1, 2020 46 min
This episode was originally released in 2015. In Episode 6 of the History of American Slavery, hosts Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie explore the rise of the antebellum cotton economy in the early decades of the 19th century. They discuss how the growth of the cotton industry transformed the American system of slavery and the lives of enslaved people. And they discuss slavery’s relationship with the development of modern American ca...
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February 1, 2020 49 min
This episode was originally released in 2015. In Episode 5 of the History of American Slavery, hosts Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie explore the slave rebellions—both real and imagined—that unfolded during the settlement of the 19th-century American frontier. They discuss the largest slave insurgency in American history, Louisiana’s 1811 German Coast rebellion. And then they explore an imagined slave revolt in Mississippi and the h...
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February 1, 2020 57 min
This episode was originally released in 2015. In Episode 4 of the History of American Slavery, hosts Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie explore the shape of family life on the slave plantations of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They make a case study of one famous plantation, Monticello, the Virginia estate owned by Thomas Jefferson. Then they take a closer look at how slavery tore families apart, and the emotional history of...
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This episode was originally released in 2015. In Episode 3 of the History of American Slavery, hosts Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie explore the shape of slavery during America’s Revolutionary War. They discuss how the enlightenment ideas that helped found our government both inhibited and encouraged the spread of American slavery. They also talk about the divergent ways the early Northern and Southern states handled slavery in the...
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February 1, 2020 48 min
This episode was originally released in 2015. In episode 2 of the History of American Slavery, hosts Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie explore the shape of slavery during the late 18th century. They talk about the heyday of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the birth of the British abolitionist movement. They begin their discussion by remembering the remarkable life of Olaudah Equiano, 1745?–1797. See this episode's complete sho...
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February 1, 2020 42 min
This episode was originally released in 2015. Slavery in America started out pretty bad in the 17th century. White colonists made it way, way worse in the 18th. What made this “terrible transformation” possible? In Episode 1 of the History of American Slavery, hosts Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie explore how hereditary, race-based slavery took shape in colonial America. They begin their discussion by remembering the life of Anthon...
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