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Up From Slavery (2011)

Kevin R. Hershberger  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)

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Up From Slavery + Race to Freedom: The Underground Railroad
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Product Details

  • Directors: Kevin R. Hershberger
  • Writers: Baron Blakley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Surround Sound
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 13, 2011
  • Run Time: 420 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0058KGHX6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,991 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The Dramatic story of Black Slavery in America from the first arrival of African slaves at Jamestown in 1619 to the Civil War and the ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870 which prohibits the government from denying a citizen the vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude (i.e., slavery) - the third of the Reconstruction Amendments which finally ended the legitimacy of Slavery in the United States. 

1619 Virginia - The First African Slaves arrive.
18th Century Colonial America and Slavery under the rule of the British Empire.
Slavery in the United States after the Revolution.
Nat Turner s Rebellion, 1831.
Abolition from the North grows.
The Civil War. Emancipation Proclamation.
Aftermath of the Civil War and new freedom .

BRAND NEW DOCUMENTARY EVENT exclusively available from Mill Creek Entertainment, this big-budget project is produced by award-winning documentarians, Lionheart Filmworks.

Filled with interviews and reenactments from renowned historians and experts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
259 of 265 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, Educational October 21, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I purchased this DVD to add to my collection and I originally thought it would be just another overview of the issues and problems associated with slavery in the US. However, this was a very good teaching video. The segments are in such a way that you can show in parts or all together. The segements that have actors acting out the parts go very well with the voice over. You could also mute the sound and decribe the sections for greater teaching. It covers not only Slavery in America but the islands and how they impacted the slave trade. This is a great collection to enhance ones library or to introduce the history of slavery to those who lack the understanding of how it all happened. It is great for teaching in the classroom and individual knowledge. Not a great subject but a great overview for those who lack the knowledge of this aweful past.
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168 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! October 21, 2011
By TeenaG
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Simply outstanding! This is the most complete presentation on slavery I've ever seen. It is the only presentation I've seen that gives a good timeline of historical people and events in conjunction with the political, business, religious, and social mindsets of the people in each time period; and by region of the country, wealth, religion, etc. It has always amazed me that Americans love to talk about the Civil War, but nobody wants to talk about slavery, a major reason the war occurred. Most American children are taught in school that slavery happened; we had the Civic War; and Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. But the complex political, business, moral, religious, and human issues were glazed over or not mentioned at all. More US history topics should be presented this way. The historians, producers, actors, and everyone associated with this production are to be commended.
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144 of 156 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Expansive but not definitive January 1, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Here, Hershberger provides a decent historical overview of the black experience in America thru the Civil War, chock full of interesting, important and under-known details. However the documentary falters in its over- and under-playing of certain phenomena, and in its advancement of disputable "facts".

For instance, Hershberger refers to the apparently substantial participation of "African" elites in the slave trade as "Africans" "selling their own people". This reflects the all too common but grossly incorrect view of "Africans" as a monolith, and contradicts substantial evidence that "African" slave traders were capturing and trading other humans who were BLACK, but not necessarily THEIR people (from their "tribe", etc.). Analysis of this phenomenon is seriously lacking in this documentary.

Hershberger also seems to overplay certain phenomena -- e.g., the "good master" -- thereby distorting their significance. Also, there's almost no analysis of the intergenerational and persistent mental, physical and socioeconomic trauma the centuries of brutality and terror have had on black people.

These shortcomings may or may not be attributable to "Eurocentric" perspective. And, to be fair, no documentary of so large and complex a topic will be perfect. Nevertheless, I wonder if it underscores the need for more black historians and documentarians to be doing this kind of work.

UPDATE: I reduced my rating to two stars. Since purchasing this DVD, I've become even more convinced of the need for a full, true accounting of American history. For the sake of us ALL. This documentary unfortunately falls shorts.
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74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking some information December 19, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
What you get for $4 dollars is a documentary that looks and feels similar to documentaries on slavery done by PBS such as, Slavery and the Making of America and Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery.

The production level and the scene reenactments also seem on par with documentary seen on PBS.There is no profanity however it is rated as TV-14.

The problem with this documentary is the content not the presentation.
In the first part of the documentary it talks about the slave trade from Africa. Rather than start at the beginning and give the viewers back ground history on slave trading in Africa such as, the Arab slave trade or that the trans-atlantic slave trade was started by the Portuguese and Spanish empires long before Slaves started coming to America, this documentary says African sold Africans into Slavery then it goes into how the slave were brought to America.

The slave trade was much more complicated than just Africans selling Africans. The documentary failed to mention that the Portuguese and European empires of the time were taking Africans into slavery by force and these Europeans met strong resistance from Africans fighting for their life/freedom. I understand that this is a documentary about slaves in America but not including the background history of slavery and just saying Africans sold Africans to the Europeans who were looking for labor gives off the feeling as if someone just picked up a history book and turned it into a documentary. This does an injustice to a person in search of knowledge on the subject.

Next the documentary jumps to the American colonies.
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