On the air:
4.6 million people saw Slavery by Another Name on public television stations nationwide the first week of its premiere.
The project’s website at pbs.org/slavery-by-another-name has a rich variety of informal ways for online users to interact with and learn about this history. Oral histories focusing on forced labor, recorded in partnership with StoryCorps, are included on the site, as are opportunities for users to submit their own stories. There is an interactive map and timeline featuring a history of forced labor from the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 through the early 1940s. All classroom and community discussion resources are included on this site, as are full and chapterized versions of the documentary.
In the Community:
The documentary has been screened and discussed at over 60 college and community events nationwide, and at special events at the United Nations, the U.S. Supreme Court and the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Open Society Institute-Baltimore held and promoted a screening around the film which attracted 400 attendees. Screenings are ongoing even one year after the broadcast.
In the classroom:
tpt developed high school resources based on National Standards (Social Studies, History, English, and Common Core) that incorporate the history of forced labor into units on Civics and Social Justice, English & Media Literacy, and History. Our college resources focus on the economics of slavery, both American “neoslavery” described in Slavery by Another Name, and present day global slave trafficking. Each unit is organized into modules containing lessons, media assets (including audio, video and images from the documentary), and introductory material around best classroom practices.
tpt also created professional development programming for educators around this project. Workshops on how educators could best employ digital storytelling in relation to Slavery by Another Name themes and assets were held in Birmingham, AL; Jackson, MS; Washington, DC; Atlanta, GA; St. Paul, MN; and San Francisco, CA. The trainings weren’t just attended by teachers, but also by administrators, mental health professionals and social workers, professors, parents and more. For some training sessions, attendees received certificates of completion that they could use to receive continuing education credit. To further the reach of the teacher trainings, tpt developed four short training videos available for free on the project’s pbs.org website.
In addition to integrating project content into its curriculum, the Southern Poverty Law Center included information about Slavery by Another Name in its Teaching Tolerance email blast, reaching 75,000 teachers.
The National Director of the Children’s Defense Fund encouraged use of Slavery by Another Name in the Classroom to its Freedom Schools—a summer program that in the summer of 2011, served over 9,800 children at 151 program sites in 87 cities and 27 states.
In the media:
Media pickup around Slavery by Another Name was high in both traditional and new media spaces. Highlights of coverage include PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill’s interview with Douglas A. Blackmon the evening of the broadcast premiere; CNN’s featured interviews with Douglas Blackmon and two of the film’s descendants, Tonya Groomes and Susan Burnore; the nationally syndicated Tribune Media Service’s major feature stories in their monthly publication, Channel Guide Magazine, as well as their Sunday Select TV Magazine (over 85 million in circulation), and coverage in major publications including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Denver Post, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Social media use around Slavery by Another Name was high, and has been the subject of thousands of passionate tweets and Facebook posts which continue to echo a sense of raised awareness, learning and connection with this theme, including:
“A great show. I learned so much even though it’s painful to know. No wonder there’s still such a gulf between the races in this country.”
“Want to understand the last 149 years of U.S. social history? Watch PBS’s Slavery by Another Name.”
“We tease our grandmother, a former sharecropper, for being cowardly. Now I truly understand.”
“How is it possible that I never learned about peonage in all my schoolwork? I’m ashamed.”
The documentary was an official selection at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and has been featured at a diverse array of international film festivals in Jerusalem, Montreal, Zanzibar; the Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Civil Rights Film Festival; and the Pan African Film Festival, where it captured the Festival Programmers’ Award.