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267 of 273 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, Educational
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...
Published on October 21, 2011 by Ousley Resources

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151 of 163 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Expansive but not definitive
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...
Published on January 1, 2012 by InTheBlack


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267 of 273 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, Educational, October 21, 2011
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This review is from: Up From Slavery (DVD)
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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171 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, October 21, 2011
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This review is from: Up From Slavery (DVD)
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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151 of 163 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Expansive but not definitive, January 1, 2012
By 
InTheBlack (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Up From Slavery (DVD)
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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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking some information, December 19, 2011
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This review is from: Up From Slavery (DVD)
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. Again rather than give the viewer important details of the first Africans in the Virginia colony the documentary makes it seem like the first Africans came here as slaves. When it talks about the Africans that were indentured servants and who were eventually freed the documentary makes it seem like they were still on some sought of reservation. The documentary fails to go into detail about Anthony Johnson who was one of the first free African.There are so many instances where the documentary is lacking I could go on and on. For anyone who has done research on this topic this dvd will leave u wondering about the intentions of the producer.

Although this documentary feels like it is the history of slavery from the slave masters point of view, it does have a lot of information on slavery that not too many people know about. For $4 dollars you really can't go wrong. I would recommend this dvd only if you plan on doing further research on the topic. If this it the only dvd you plan on buying about slavery then you will be doing yourself and other a disservice as there is a lot of information missing from it. If anyone wants to do further research on the subject, States like Virginia and Maryland have Historical archive with documents from slavery time that can be access for free online.

I would also recommend the book The SLAVE TRADE: THE STORY OF THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE: 1440 - 1870

Here are just some facts that this documentary fails to mention:

The European slave trade in Africa or Chattel slavery started in 1441. In 1441 Antão Gonçalves a captain for Prince Henry of Portugal captured an African on the west coast of Africa. Captain Nuno Tristão and captain Antão Gonçalves forced their captive to tell them where his village was; they then raided the village and took ten Africans back to Portugal as slaves. For the next 6/7 years, Nuno Tristão and many others would raid and capture Africans and force them into slavery. The portugees ran into resistance and even Nuno Tristão himself was killed by African protecting their villages and in 1447 Prince Henry halted slave trade but in 1455 the trade started again. This took place almost 200 years before the first African would make it to America against his will.

Here is a quote from King Mvemba a Nzinga of the Kongo back in the 1500's just to show that this was much more than just African selling Africans.

"Each day the traders are kidnapping our people - children of this country, sons of our nobles and vassals, even people of our own family.This corruption and depravity are so widespread that our land is entirely depopulated. We need in this kingdom only priests and schoolteachers, and no merchandise, unless it is wine and flour for Mass. It is our wish that this Kingdom not be a place for the trade or transport of slaves." Many of our subjects eagerly lust after Portuguese merchandise that your subjects have brought into our domains. To satisfy this inordinate appetite, they seize many of our black free subjects.... They sell them. After having taken these prisoners [to the coast] secretly or at night..... As soon as the captives are in the hands of white men they are branded with a red-hot iron"

Slavery is a very complicated subject because there were so many different parties involved and if someone is making a documentary on the subject he or she needs to at least give the viewer a better understanding of the trade of slaves not just saying Africans sold Africans into slavery.

Ask yourself this, Did the Africans sail to Europe and told the European they were selling Africans as slaves of did European come to Africa and take people into Slavery? Did the Africans build ports for slave trafficking or was it the Europeans? This issue is very complicated and it is very upsetting to see a documentary that just brushes over very important detail. Yes there were people from different nation that sold captives to Europeans but that does not account for all the millions of people taken nor can it be used to justify slavery. When talking about Africa people have the tendency to make Africa out to be one big nation instead of a continent with many nations on it. So instead of saying that Europeans gave guns to kingdom such as Benin to go out and conquer other nations, we get Africans captured Africans and sold them as slaves.

Here is a quote from Virginia Historical Society:

"A Dutch slave trader excanged his cargo of Africans for food in 1619. The Africans became indentured servants, similar in legal position to many poor Englishmen who traded several years labor in exchange for passage to America. The popular conception of a race-based slave system did not fully develop until the 1680's."

But According to this dvd the first Africans in America were Slaves.

There is just so much more on slavery. what I have mentioned here is just a grain of sand. If you are really into this subject please do some more research about the things mentioned in this dvd.
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104 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent documentary, September 6, 2011
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This review is from: Up From Slavery (DVD)
THIS IS 1 OF THE BEST DOCUMENTARIES I,VE EVER SEEN. TELLING HOW AFRICANS WERE TAKEN FROM THEIR COUNTRY AND SPENDING THE REST OF THEIR LIVES IN SERVITUDE.AND ALSO SHOWING THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF THE SLAVEOWNERS. FROM FIGHTING IN WARS 4 THEIR FREEDOM, 2 FAMILIES BEING TAKEN AND SOLD 2 OTHER OWNERS. THIS IS A TRULY TERRIFYING AND DISTURBING STORY.
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68 of 81 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misleading Depiction of Africans, April 25, 2012
This review is from: Up From Slavery (DVD)
I agree with the commenter Fuva:
"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."

This is true, during the colonial period in the United States, slaves were mostly either Native American or African. (Not enough has been done on Native American slavery, as Native Americans comprised up to 1/3 of all slaves in some cities. But this is another story). These slaves were for the most part obtained via trading, as in Native Americans would sell other Native Americans to Europeans and West Africans would sell other West Africans to Europeans. Most people are somewhat aware of this fact, but this part of history is always told in a very misleading and simplistic way.

Both Native Americans and Africans as wells as Romans, Greeks, individuals in the Bible and individuals in the Koran "owned" slaves. However, the type of slavery practiced by these groups was not at all like the brutal Chattel Slavery that was practiced in the Americas. After the discovery of the New World, the demand for labor was so intense that a very different form of slavery was practiced which was Chattel slavery. Where as not only was the slave property of their master, but the master owned the slave children and the children's future children. This was totally different from the slavery practiced in Africa and other parts of the old world. Throughout African history and outside of Africa you had slaves who became generals and held other high ranking positions. For example, The first emperor of the Mali empire was an "enslaved" African. Why he was technically a slave, he was the leader of his nation. This could have never happened in the Americas.

Additionally, in Olaudah Equiano's autobiography. He describes the difference between being a slave in West Africa and the Americas. He had two different "owners" in West Africa before arriving to the Americas. He stated that his situation became grim only when he got into the hands of Europeans.

Slaves in Africa were basically Prisoners of War from other rival tribes. No one sold their own people. During this time of history there was no concept of race to Africans and Native Americans. Everything was tribal. Tribes at war, would temporarily enslave P.O.W.'s or incorporate them fully into the family. However, this system took a dangerous turn once outsiders begin exploiting it.

It is not out of the ordinary for a slave documentary not to truly address the nature and characteristic of Africa's involvement of the slave trade. However, this documentary seemed to focus heavily on the "evil African myth". This myth is played out at the beginning and then forcefully "crow-barred" in a latter part of the film. This combined with overemphasizing the "good master", caused me not to take this film seriously and question the motive of the film-maker. I can now see why the price is only $4.99, and yet the film is relatively still new. Not only is the film slanted, but the re-enactments reminds of 1980's PBS.

If the point of the film was to showcase White sympathy during slavery, the filmmaker should have focused on the Underground Railroad, The Boston Vigilance Committee, etc... This film is a very incorrect interpretation of history and should not be used in any classroom.

(Partial list of sources)
-The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
-500 Years Documentary
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking Important information, April 8, 2012
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The Blu-ray and the Dvd are now on one page so my review is showing up twice.

This documentary 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 TV-14.

There are no special features or extra scenes nor extra information added to this Blu-ray.One would think that the producers of this documentary would have used the extra storage space the blu-ray media offers in order to add the things that a lacking but they did not so you might want to consider the DVD version for under $5.00 instead of paying $15.00 for this Blu-ray.

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. Again rather than give the viewer important details of the first Africans in the Virginia colony the documentary makes it seem like the first Africans came here as slaves. When it talks about the Africans that were indentured servants and who were eventually freed the documentary makes it seem like they were still on some sought of reservation. The documentary fails to go into detail about Anthony Johnson who was one of the first free African.There are so many instances where the documentary is lacking I could go on and on. For anyone who has done research on this topic this dvd will leave u wondering about the intentions of the producer.

Although this documentary feels like it is the history of slavery from the slave masters point of view, it does have a lot of information on slavery that not too many people know about. I would recommend this dvd only if you plan on doing further research on the topic. If this it the only dvd you plan on buying about slavery then you will be doing yourself and other a disservice as there is a lot of information missing from it. If anyone wants to do further research on the subject, States like Virginia and Maryland have Historical archive with documents from slavery time that can be access for free online.

I would also recommend the book The SLAVE TRADE: THE STORY OF THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE: 1440 - 1870

Here are just some facts that this documentary fails to mention:

The European slave trade in Africa or Chattel slavery started in 1441. In 1441 Antão Gonçalves a captain for Prince Henry of Portugal captured an African on the west coast of Africa. Captain Nuno Tristão and captain Antão Gonçalves forced their captive to tell them where his village was; they then raided the village and took ten Africans back to Portugal as slaves. For the next 6/7 years, Nuno Tristão and many others would raid and capture Africans and force them into slavery. The portugees ran into resistance and even Nuno Tristão himself was killed by African protecting their villages and in 1447 Prince Henry halted slave trade but in 1455 the trade started again. This took place almost 200 years before the first African would make it to America against his will.

Here is a quote from King Mvemba a Nzinga of the Kongo back in the 1500's just to show that this was much more than just African selling Africans.

"Each day the traders are kidnapping our people - children of this country, sons of our nobles and vassals, even people of our own family.This corruption and depravity are so widespread that our land is entirely depopulated. We need in this kingdom only priests and schoolteachers, and no merchandise, unless it is wine and flour for Mass. It is our wish that this Kingdom not be a place for the trade or transport of slaves." Many of our subjects eagerly lust after Portuguese merchandise that your subjects have brought into our domains. To satisfy this inordinate appetite, they seize many of our black free subjects.... They sell them. After having taken these prisoners [to the coast] secretly or at night..... As soon as the captives are in the hands of white men they are branded with a red-hot iron"

Slavery is a very complicated subject because there were so many different parties involved and if someone is making a documentary on the subject he or she needs to at least give the viewer a better understanding of the trade of slaves not just saying Africans sold Africans into slavery.

Ask yourself this, Did the Africans sail to Europe and told the European they were selling Africans as slaves of did European come to Africa and take people into Slavery? Did the Africans build ports for slave trafficking or was it the Europeans? This issue is very complicated and it is very upsetting to see a documentary that just brushes over very important detail. Yes there were people from different nation that sold captives to Europeans but that does not account for all the millions of people taken nor can it be used to justify slavery. When talking about Africa people have the tendency to make Africa out to be one big nation instead of a continent with many nations on it. So instead of saying that Europeans gave guns to kingdom such as Benin to go out and conquer other nations, we get Africans captured Africans and sold them as slaves.

Here is a quote from Virginia Historical Society:

"A Dutch slave trader excanged his cargo of Africans for food in 1619. The Africans became indentured servants, similar in legal position to many poor Englishmen who traded several years labor in exchange for passage to America. The popular conception of a race-based slave system did not fully develop until the 1680's."

But According to this dvd the first Africans in America were Slaves.

There is just so much more on slavery. what I have mentioned here is just a grain of sand. If you are really into this subject please do some more research about the things mentioned in this bluray.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a worthy documentary., November 4, 2011
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This review is from: Up From Slavery (DVD)
i have seen africans in america and thought it was one of the best documentaries on slavery i have ever seen. up from slavery is a worthy documentary. i now believe up from slavery just as good if not better than aficans in america. the documentary covers everything from the first slaves in 1400 and 1500 portugal and spain to the horrible transportation on th
e ships. the middle passage including south america and north america and slavery in these continents under england and france. it covers conditions in america of slaves in 1600's. the revolts, abolitionist movement revolutionary war and civil war are addressed. dates are posted througout along with re enactments and art, sketches, and photos to give the program a college course level. recommended for all however kids should watch with parents or adult.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, April 8, 2012
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This review is from: Up From Slavery (DVD)
I'm a history buff and also an African American. I didn't care for the portrayal of the institution of slavery and its effects on this country as a whole! I guess it's okay for a basic outline for those who don't know but as much as it did say, I think it left out a lot! I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who I know!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely a phenomenal DVD!, September 23, 2013
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Educational work of film for all people. I actually watched it twice just in case I missed something and learned more. Excellent source of information in history that is sometimes overlooked.
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Up From Slavery
Up From Slavery by Kevin R. Hershberger (DVD - 2011)
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