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Playlist: ERIC V. TAIT, JR.'s Favorites

Compiled By: ERIC V. TAIT, JR.

Free To Travel Home Collage Credit: EVT Educational Productions, Inc.
Image by: EVT Educational Productions, Inc. 
Free To Travel Home Collage

"THEN I'LL BE FREE TO TRAVEL HOME": PREVIEW/OVERVIEW: (1626-1863)...... the historical arc of the long African-American battle against northern slavery and for full, first-class citizenship.
It chronicles the contributions the original Africans who founded the New York African Burial ground - and their descendants - made to the survival and development of New York and the nation from the 1600s to the New York City Draft Riots of 1863. It is also a history of larger-than-life "freedom fighters" on many levels and of many races, who challenged slavery to change the course of this nation from it's earliest Colonial days. This is that story as it unfolded in the northeastern part of what would eventually become the United States of America. Hide full description

"THEN I'LL BE FREE TO TRAVEL HOME": PREVIEW/OVERVIEW: (1626-1863)...... the historical arc of the long African-American battle against northern slavery and for full, first-class citizenship. It chronicles the contributions the original Africans who founded the New York African Burial ground - and their descendants - made to the survival and development of New York and the nation from the 1600s to the New York City Draft Riots of 1863. It is also a history of larger-than-life "freedom fighters" on many levels and of many races, who challenged slavery to change the course of this nation from it's earliest Colonial days. This is that story as it unfolded in the northeastern part of what... Show full description

Then I'll Be Free To Travel Home

Episode One...the historical arc of the long African-American battle against northern slavery and for full, first-class citizenship. It chronicles the contributions the original Africans who founded the New York African Burial ground - and their descendants - made to the survival and development of New York and the nation from the 1600s to the New York City Draft Riots of 1863. It is also a history of larger-than-life "freedom fighters" on many levels and of many races, who challenged slavery to change the course of this nation from it's earliest Colonial days. This is that story as it unfolded in the northeastern part of what would eventually become the United States of America.

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EARLY CONTACTS - JUAN "JAN" RODRIGUES, THE FIRST FREE AFRICAN IN THE HUDSON VALLEY (1612-1614).

Before slavery rears its ugly head in North America, Africans and people of African descent traverse the northeastern part of the continent as free entrepreneurs - traders, guides and interpreters; men such as Matthieu Da Costa, and "Jan" Rodrigues. Who they were - especially Rodrigues - how they interacted with the Europeans and Native Americans, their value and impact, is the heart of Segment #2, and aptly sets the stage for the next segment.

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Episode 5: EARLY SLAVE RESISTANCE: NEW YORK- 1712

The prevalent, accepted myth is that enslaved Africans in North America pretty much docilely accepted their enslavement. The evidence is quite to the contrary. The number of revolts and runaways - especially in the north - are early, and significant. (The NY Slave Revolt of 1712 rocked ll the Colonies, and that NY Colonial Legislature passed a law mandating the death penalty for any slave found 40 miles north of Albany). Highlighting that early struggle, and how it literally paved the way for what would, almost a hundred years later, come to be known as the Underground Railroad, makes for an enlightening Segment #5.

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THE REBELLION WITHIN THE REBELLION: HUDDY AND TYE (1775-1783).

"There's a famous quote by a Lutheran Priest, which says 'Everyone recognizes that the Blacks favor the British. If the British win, they will gain their freedom.'" (Prof. Graham Hodges). The British promise that freedom immediately, knowing they need the enslaved Africans in order to defeat the rebellious Colonists. The American Colonists' two-fold dilemma: how to reconcile preaching/fighting for "liberty and justice for all" while still trying to keep enslaved Africans as property; and secondly, can they defeat the British without the help of the Africans in their midst? How it all plays out - as seen primarily through the efforts/conflicts of two larger-than-life antagonists (Huddy & Tye) and the subsequent effects, make for a dynamic Segment #7.

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11. SIGNS OF WAR: THE ABOLITIONIST SPLIT: JOHN BROWN/FREDRICK DOUGLASS & HARPER'S FERRY.

Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, the Tappan Brothers, and other abolitionists, black and white, reach a crossroads on just how militant the Abolitionist Movement should be. On the high seas the British Navy aggressively pursues and neutralizes practitioners of the transatlantic slave trade, but despite national and international bans, slave ships with their human cargo still move in and out of North American ports with relative impunity. With the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in (1850), John Brown determines that time for talk is over. He tries to enlist Frederick Douglass as an active participant in his planned raid. Douglass declines, and tries, unsuccessfully, to dissuade Brown. All this and more is captured in Segment #11.

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LINCOLN'S DILEMMA: SAVING THE UNION OR FREEING THE SLAVES? (THE NY CITY DRAFT RIOTS & THE BATTLE OF FT. WAGNER - JULY 1863).

When the dissident southern states issued their Ordinance of Secession to break from the Union, there was no mention of States Rights, or Tariffs or any of the other so-called key economic reasons for the breakaway. Of the ten reasons cited, eight of them dealt specifically with slavery. (For plantation owners that was the dominant economic issue). Lincoln was elected with a minority of the popular vote; his main concern was preserving the Union. Many of his war policies were highly unpopular - not just in the South, but even in New York - whose mercantile-and-maritime economy was strongly tied to the southern plantation owners and their crops. The Emancipation Proclamation only attempted to free slaves in the rebel Confederacy, not the non-seceeding Border States. But, when coupled with the Conscription Act of 1863 (first ever national Draft) it still made for some very unhappy individuals, north and south. How all these political, war-time issues unfold and play out nationally and locally (as exemplified by the NY City Draft Riots and Battle for Ft. Wagner) makes for an informative and fascinating Segment #12.

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