For nearly three hundred years, the labor system in the United States was dependent upon holding human beings in bondage and forcing them to work against their will. This system was kept afloat not by the willingness of slaves, but by constant policing and violent enforcement of slave codes and laws. Countless regulations were created to counter the daily resistance and organizing efforts of slaves determined to achieve freedom in any way possible, and militias were established to further police them. Slave Catchers, Slave Resisters is a gripping account of the rebellions, runaways, and secret patterns of communications slaves used to break free, and the violent methods their owners used to try to quell rebellion and escape.
Slave Catchers, Slave Resisters captures the drama of the Stono Rebellion of 1739. During this uprising in South Carolina, slaves drew upon African battle techniques, striking fear into the hearts of plantation owners throughout the South as they attempted to break free from slavery forever. In response, harsher laws limiting the movement of slaves were put in place throughout the South. Militias and slave patrols became commonplace, often using extreme violence and intimidation to thwart unruly slaves.
What emerges from this in-depth two hour program is a portrait of a slave society constantly on the brink of disorder. Highly acclaimed scholars of slavery offer an analysis of how studying slave resistance reveals the contradictions inherent in a democratic republic in which some human beings were held as property. As slaves flocked over to British lines during the American Revolution, their unceasing drive toward freedom once again came into stark clarity. Slave Catchers, Slave Resisters follows the story of slavery through the nineteenth century as the nation was pushed into full-scale Civil War. Educators and their students will find that this program provides an informative, insightful, and often shocking view of the violence the slave system provoked at every turn.