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American Experience: Abolitionists Part II

Airs Tuesday, January 15 at 9:00 PM on WVIZ/PBS

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American Experience: Abolitionists Part II

On January 1, 1863, when abolitionist leaders Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison received word that the Emancipation Proclamation had declared three million enslaved African Americans “forever free,” it was the culminating moment of the most important civil rights crusade in American history, and the climax of a long and difficult friendship between two remarkable men.

Douglass escapes slavery, eventually joining Garrison in the anti-slavery movement. Threatened with capture by his former owner, Douglass flees to England, returning to the U.S. in 1847. He launches his own anti-slavery paper. John Brown meets with Douglass, revealing his radical plan to raise an army, attack plantations and free the slaves. Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852. A best-seller, and then wildly successful stage play, this influential novel changes the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. The divide between North and South deepens, touching off a crisis that is about to careen out of control.

This is the second part of the three part series finishingTuesday, January 22.

Watch The Abolitionists Extended Preview on PBS. See more from American Experience.

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Arts and Culture, History, Race

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