The early 1600s economy strived due to the enslavements of blacks. The British colonies in North America needed a permanent workforce as the indentured servants that were brought over only worked for seven years as payment for transport to the New World then freed. This is why the period from 1470 to the 1833 is considered to be the most devastating time throughout history as that’s when slavery began. The whites thought that indenture servitude although good was not creating enough capital for them so Africans were chosen to be slaves to cultivate the then high producing tobacco.
In watching the 1PBS documentary I learnt not only what was taught to me in school growing up but a more in-depth version of the horror that happened. I learnt about slavery like how most children did, a PG-13 version taught by teachers who were taught the same thing. How can such a horrid past be taught with that aspect generation to generation with no respect to the truth of what truly happened. I was taught that slavery was an idea that sprouted when Christopher Columbus first discovered the Caribbean and the Indians.
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He realized that gold could be mined here and overpowered the Indians. After they started to diminish they turned to Africa where they started to capture and kidnap young teens. They were brought over to the New World where they were whipped, tortured, and branded as animals and put to work. The Middle Passage is the trip from Africa to the Caribbean where hundreds of slaves were packed like tuna. It is deemed as the worse part of the Triangle Trade and was formed when the America’s were found.
Slaves would be delivered from Europe to the Caribbean, sugar and other raw materials left the Caribbean to America, America manufactured the raw materials, and Britain would receive the finished good. Then since the manufacturing business wasn’t making enough capital for the whites they moved on to producing crops like rice then tobacco, which was highly popular for smoking in that time. Watching 1The Terrible Transformation changed a lot of what I thought of slavery in the past.
I thought of slavery as a horrible part of history that happened to blacks, but thanks to the historians who took time to compose this documentary I learnt of some of the true horrors that took place. I didn’t know blacks first came to Jamestown, Virginia. Where after years of working were on the verge of all gaining their freedom, but laws were created to prevent them from gaining their freedom, for them to take office, and the prevention of mixing the races.
How slavery is portrayed in 1The Terrible Transformation is more graphic and detailed than is normally shown. It showed us several documented instances of what being black meant during that time. Three indentured servants ran away together. They were flogged and brought before a judge. Two of them got their time of servitude extended, they were white. The third man who happened to be black was charged into servitude for the rest of his life, the first documented slave. The documentary provided many other small stories help us understand more of what truly happened.
Slavery was never preordained although it was backed by religion in that time period. The whites use multiple bible quotes to justify slavery, but as they use small examples to justify their wrong doings there were more factors to disagree with that such as the fact that if it was preordained then blacks wouldn’t rebel as much, there were more bible verses against the ill treatment they were receiving than slavery being ok, and later on certain core fundamentals in the Declaration of Independence from Britain.
Before slavery whites and black indentured servants worked hand in hand in building the colonies. Anthony Johnson is also proof that blacks can be more than slaves as he rose from slavery to owning land and having the same status as most whites. This documentary exhibited many examples of what we are not taught in our history classes as children. After watching The Terrible Transformation I understand what is meant by Violence of Abstraction.
My views on slavery have now changed drastically as I saw what the African had to go through such as seasoning and the punishment they endure when they ran away. I learnt that the North wasn’t always as liberal as they were made to seem and they were slavery states at one point. This documentary should be a primary document in teaching the history of slavery.