Documentary Film Analysis Worksheet
History 221 – African American History Before 1877
You will find the list of films you can choose from in the Assignment tab. Go to the list and pick your film. You must view the entire film. If you can’t access films because of deployment, geographic location, or other reasons, please let your instructor know so they can give you an alternate assignment. Please type you answers into this sheet. You must submit the worksheet by uploading the worksheet as a Word document You must answer in complete sentences, using a short answer/paragraph format. Please do not answer in one or two sentences be specific. 2 paragraph minimum (except for #1)
1. What is the title of the film you picked?
I chose the film, “Slavery and the Making of America.”
2. Why did you pick this film over the others offered?
I chose this film documentary over the others because I have always wanted to learn more about slavery and how it shaped and effected America. Often we are just told what we read in books or stories that have been passed down about what really went on in this country. Slavery is a big subject and one of if not the biggest tragedies in the history of this country. I wanted to watch this documentary to uncover more truth and facts about the shape of this country during that time. I also liked the descriptions that are specified about the video and what it talks about and will cover. It states that the four part documentary will cover the beginning of slavery from the British colonies which then migrates down south to the north and how it ends. I have always been intrigued by the history of slavery and how it came about and how it was for Africans and African Americans during that time.
3. What is/are the central message(s) of this documentary/fictional film? Be specific. Use examples from the film to support your choice.
There are many central messages regarding this documentary. The main messages conveyed in this documentary were resistance amongst the slaves, struggle to maintain dignity, their life styles and culture, their status as workers, knowing their value as a slave, the change of racism, slaves were underestimated about their knowledge and understanding, family was essential and helped them survive and powerful political figures along with American beliefs were major hypocrites. In 1624 the first eleven Africans known as the Atlantic Creole’s were brought via ships by the Dutch West India Company to New Amsterdam (New York today), at this time there were two kinds of workers; slaves and indentured workers(white and black laborers who served for a servant amount of years to get money and become free). Their statuses were confusing and complex however, they were both treated equal and would often retreat to taverns to bond and talk about their masters. The Atlantic Creole’s made the system work for them. They knew how to bargain with their masters to get what they needed and still maintain a fair working lifestyle. The turn of fair treatment towards both races changed in 1640 when three men (two white and one black) decided to flee from their master. They were caught two days later. In court the two whites were to serve a few more years as indentured workers while the black man was sentenced to life as an indentured worker. Slaves maintained their dignity by using the bible, their culture as Africans and family value to get them through. When times got hard they prayed and came together as a community. The treatment of slaves was inhumane, they were beaten, and tortured (branded, men castrated, ears cut off or severed, women raped and exploited) if they were misbehaving. Eventually slaves were beginning to be resistant. They would harm cattle, run away, commit suicide and sometimes revolt towards their masters to receive better treatment. President Thomas Jefferson was considered to be a huge hypocrite along with political powers in America. They wrote...
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