North's Role in Slavery (03:35)
New York City considered seceding with the southern states. Ann Farrow co-authored "Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery." Many slaves sent to the Caribbean and American South were taken by northern ships.
Revisionist History (02:56)
Operations took slaves from the Gold Coast, Slave Coast, and Rice Coast. New England's prowess at building and sailing ships made it a leader in the trade. One-third of the work force in New York City was enslaved Black men.
Slavery in Rhode Island (02:15)
Rhode Island men operated about 90% of the slave trade ships. Nathaniel Russell owned and sold people in South Carolina.
Slavery in Connecticut (03:49)
Manufacturers began cutting ivory for combs and keyboards. Pianos became the sign of gentility in America. The factories would purchase a person to carry a tusk across Africa; afterward, the slave would be sold into the Arab world.
Rationalizations for Enslaving Africans (04:32)
Many individuals who participated in the ivory trade were also abolitionists. New Englanders wanted an end of enslavement in the United States but only saw it as a local issue. Slave rebellions began in 1650.
Race Science (03:49)
At Harvard and other medical schools, scientists built a platform to prove black men were inferior. Samuel Morton undertook a series of experiments to demonstrate their lesser cranial capacity. According to the 1790 census, slave ownership permeated the culture in Connecticut.
Brutalized Characterization (04:21)
Enslaved black people could be beaten, tortured, or sold and subjected to hideous treatment. Venture Smith wrote a thirty-page account of his life's history and managed to buy himself and his family's freedom. Slavery was an American story, not just about the South.
Credits: Slavery's Biggest Secret (00:39)
Credits: Slavery's Biggest Secret
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