Piece image

Humankind: Justice Denied

From: Humankind
Length: 58:59

How could a nation founded on a Declaration that "all men are created equal" permit slavery? Nowhere was this contradiction more stark than at the Supreme Court, which formally ruled in the Dred Scott case that black people have "no rights" -- a decision Abraham Lincoln adamantly opposed. In this one-hour Humankind special, produced in association with WGBH/Boston, we'll learn about harsh public reaction when federal judges enforced slavery through fugitive slave laws and the Dred Scott ruling.

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Ideal for broadcast around M.L. King Day or Black History Month, this one-hour Humankind special examines the fascinating historical role played by U.S. federal courts in enforcing slavery. Produced in association with WGBH/Boston.

We revisit how a Boston judge's decision to order a runaway slave returned to his Virginia owner provoked the largest abolitionist protest the nation had ever seen. Then an in-depth look at the Supreme Court's famous Dred Scott ruling -- adamantly opposed by Abraham Lincoln -- that blacks "have no rights a white man is bound to respect". To what extent did these and other cases inflame tensions leading to the Civil War and damage the reputation of the federal judiciary? Featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning Lincoln historian Eric Foner, Museum of African-American History director Beverly Morgan-Welch, Duke Univ. law professor Paul Finkelman as well as dramatic readings from Frederick Douglass and others.

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Piece Description

Ideal for broadcast around M.L. King Day or Black History Month, this one-hour Humankind special examines the fascinating historical role played by U.S. federal courts in enforcing slavery. Produced in association with WGBH/Boston.

We revisit how a Boston judge's decision to order a runaway slave returned to his Virginia owner provoked the largest abolitionist protest the nation had ever seen. Then an in-depth look at the Supreme Court's famous Dred Scott ruling -- adamantly opposed by Abraham Lincoln -- that blacks "have no rights a white man is bound to respect". To what extent did these and other cases inflame tensions leading to the Civil War and damage the reputation of the federal judiciary? Featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning Lincoln historian Eric Foner, Museum of African-American History director Beverly Morgan-Welch, Duke Univ. law professor Paul Finkelman as well as dramatic readings from Frederick Douglass and others.

Timing and Cues

Broadcast rights open January 15, 2013. This documentary special consists of two 29:00 segments that can be aired as stand-alone programs or as a full-hour broadcast (with midpoint billboard included).

The Incue for each segment is: "This Humankind special..." The Outcue for each segment is: "The Executive Producer is David Freudberg. This is Humankind."

The end of the first segment is followed at 29:00 with a billboard for the second half-hour, concluding with the phrase, "when Humankind continues in a moment." This is followed immediately by a :30 music bed for local ID, etc. The bed begins at 29:30. Second half of the program begins at 30:00 and concludes at 59:00 with: "The Executive Producer is David Freudberg. This is Humankind."

Additional Credits

Produced in association with WGBH/Boston.

Related Website

humanmedia.org