New history documentaries on PBS shed new light on two iconic freedom fighters in the struggle to end slavery. Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass were outsiders to the white ruling class of 19th-century America and spoke truth to power, rising to national and international prominence. They were both born enslaved on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and grew to lead America, pushing the nation towards fulfilling its written ideals of freedom, equality and opportunity.
Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom and Becoming Frederick Douglass will premiere on October 4 and 11, respectively, on THIRTEEN. They are co-directed by filmmakers Stanley Nelson (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution) and Nicole London (American Masters – Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool).
Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom
Premieres Tuesday, October 4 at 10 p.m.
Featuring more than 20 historians and experts and grounded in the most recent scholarship, the documentary film goes beyond the standard narrative to explore what motivated Tubman, including divine inspiration.
Watch the full film now with the member benefit THIRTEEN Passport.
“With this film, our aim was to go beyond what is covered in history books to create a real, three-dimensional portrait of who Harriet Tubman actually was,” filmmaker Stanley Nelson said. “We wanted to examine what motivated her to pursue a revolutionary and often dangerous journey, particularly through her fierce religiosity and metaphysical connection to the divine. This film also has such a distinct sonic layer thanks to powerful narration by the great Alfre Woodard.”
Becoming Frederick Douglass
Premieres Tuesday, October 11, 10 p.m.
The new documentary Becoming Frederick Douglass explores how a man born into slavery became one of the most influential voices for democracy in American history.
Born in 1818 on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Douglass escaped from slavery in 1838 and went on to become the most well-known leader of the abolitionist movement. A gifted writer and powerful, charismatic orator, it is estimated that more Americans heard Douglass speak than any other 19th-century figure, Black or white. The documentary explores how Douglass controlled his own image and narrative, embracing photography as a tool for social justice, and the role he played in securing the right to freedom and complete equality for African Americans.
“Given that Frederick Douglass was one of the most prolific and powerful orators of his time, we were interested in exploring how he created and controlled his image, and ultimately how he used it to shift public opinion around abolition,” said filmmaker Stanley Nelson. “It was such a gift to have the inimitable Wendell Pierce provide the voice of Douglass to bring his words to life. Wendell’s dynamic performance, coupled with the many stunning photographs taken throughout Douglass’s lifetime, show how Douglass evolved to become one of the most influential and enduring social justice activists in American history.”
Watch Becoming Frederick Douglass now with the member benefit THIRTEEN Passport