Greg Grandin tells the story of a remarkable slave rebellion that occurred in 1805. Off a remote island in the South Pacific, Captain Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, climbed aboard a distressed Spanish ship carrying scores of West Africans he thought were slaves. They weren’t. Having earlier seized control of the vessel and slaughtered most of the crew, they were staging an elaborate ruse, acting as if they were humble servants. The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World explores this extraordinary event, which inspired Herman Melville’s masterpiece Benito Cereno.
Sarah Colt, director of the documentary “Henry Ford,” and Greg Grandin, professor of history at NYU and author of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City, discuss the life of Henry Ford, a farm boy who became the most influential American innovator of the 20th century. Ford created the Model T, the most successful car in history, and introduced the groundbreaking five-dollar-a-day wage, ushering in the modern world as we know it. One of the nation’s richest men, he was a hero to many ordinary Americans, although he battled his workers and bullied his own son, despised the wealthy, and blamed Jews for what he deemed society’s degeneration. “Henry Ford” will premiere on American Experience on January 29, 9:00-11:00 p.m. on PBS, in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Ford’s birth.