The Abolitionists

Friday, January 04, 2013

Rob Rapley, the writer, director, and producer of "The Abolitionists," a three-part documentary about the group of men and women who pushed for the emancipation of slaves before and during the Civil War. And we'll be joined by Neal Huff, who portrays William Lloyd Garrison. It premieres on PBS's American Experience on Tuesday, January 8.


Rob Rapley and Neal Huff

Comments [11]

Sean Griffin from Brooklyn

I haven't yet seen the film, but this conversation gives me grounds for trepidation. Rapley and Huff may be correct that Garrison is under-appreciated within American culture at large, but quite the opposite is true within the historic scholarship of the last 40 years, where he has too often been portrayed along the lines suggested here, as a "lone" voice representing a truly radical and "immediate" abolitionism. The connection drawn to the 1960s is telling - the current emphasis on Garrison has more to do with our contemporary/post-Civil Rights Movement ideas about racial egalitarianism and radicalism than with where he fits into the movement of his own time.

It is my hope that this documentary will give as much "face-time" to political abolitionists like Salmon Chase, James G. Birney and Joshua Giddings; those associated with the evangelical movement like the Tappan brothers and Theodore Weld; African-Americans (not only Douglass) like Henry Highland Garnet, William Wells Brown and Martin Delaney; and women (not only Grimke and Stowe - as Eric Foner recently pointed out, the 13th Amendment originated in a petition circulated by the Women's Loyal National League).

Jan. 04 2013 01:52 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Yes, the Lincoln movie, while good, is hagiographic. Hope this series isn't.

Jan. 04 2013 01:22 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Very disappointed that Sojourner Truth is not included, given (1) the amount of available documentation, (2) how unknown she is relative to the characters here, (3) how substantial her contribution and voice was, and (4) her singular life.

Jan. 04 2013 01:18 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

What abolished the need for slavery was the industrial revolution based on cheap energy coupled with plentiful low wage free labor coming from the farms. Every previous major civilization required forced labor to exist. It was science and technology that made slavery economically irrelevant.

Jan. 04 2013 01:15 PM
Anonymous from Manhattan

Here we go again...why are we stuck on this side of the story/this era? (The questions is rhetorical) Doesn't anyone want to discuss reparations?

Jan. 04 2013 01:14 PM
dave from Monmouth Cty

Does Wendall Phillips (Abolitionist)figure in your research or this presentation?

Jan. 04 2013 01:12 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I would like the guests to comment on the tragic "Pearl Incident" and it's role in galvanizing the abolitionist movement?

Jan. 04 2013 01:11 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Ed, if you really feel that way, why don't you light that match yourself. You are not a coward are you?

"Prostitutes rarely if even get pregnant", ok and you know that for a fact?

Jan. 04 2013 01:06 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The wide availability of available contraceptives makes abortion an evil choice. Prostitutes rarely if even get pregnant, and they do sex for a living. There is also a shortage of babies that people are eager to adopt. The "right to choose" is the right to choose evil.

Jan. 04 2013 12:47 PM
A listener

[[Ed from Larchmont
We need a John Brown today to light the match that will stop abortion. But it might take natural disasters and wars to do this.

Jan. 04 2013 05:35 AM]]

Women should have access to a broad range of devices, procedures and practices with which to control their reproductive lives. If a woman wishes to be child free or feels she has had enough children, I support her right to choose to have an abortion.

The natural disasters you speak of are happening now. People living in the poorest nations are having the most children. They are living on garbage dumps, without access to decent food, shelter, clean water, schools or health care.

They are incredibly poor and their governments are either wobbling or are dictatorships that will eventually implode from rot.

The Philippines just recently passed a law granting access to contraception. They had to fight the Catholic Church for years and the church will try to derail it before it goes into practice.

Here, read this.,0,5897961.htmlstory

If you don't like abortion, then don't have one. But keep your nose out of my womb.

Jan. 04 2013 12:35 PM
Ed from Larchmont

We need a John Brown today to light the match that will stop abortion. But it might take natural disasters and wars to do this.

Jan. 04 2013 05:35 AM

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