The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross: The Black Atlantic (1500-1800)

About This Episode


The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross: The Black Atlantic explores the truly global experiences that created the African American people. Beginning a full century before the first documented '20-and-odd' slaves arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, the episode portrays the earliest Africans, both slave and free, who arrived on these shores. But the Trans-Atlantic slave trade would soon become a vast empire connecting three continents.

Through stories of individuals caught in its web, like a ten-year-old girl named Priscilla who was transported from Sierra Leone to South Carolina in the mid-18th century, we trace the emergence of plantation slavery in the American South. The late 18th century saw a global explosion of freedom movements, and The Black Atlantic examines what that Era of Revolutions - American, French and Haitian - would mean for African Americans, and for slavery in America.