Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Abolitionists

Whether it was a newspaperman who saw his life's work in abolition, a traveller through the South stunned by the brutalities of the institution, a daughter of slaveholders recognizing the evil and going against the grain to fight it, a farmer whose devilish ire was stoked by its wickedness, and a self-taught African-American who bore its evils firsthand, The Abolitionists focuses on five leaders of the movement who were instrumental in bringing about slavery's end. William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Angelina Grimke, John Brown, and Frederick Douglass went to their excruciating limits to bring the onset of seismic change in the years leading up to the Civil War. This three-part installment in the American Experience is a well-told yet mostly familiar history containing surprisingly good recreations and is severely tarnished by editorializing experts offering obvious commentary and arrives at unsatisfactory conclusions such as the notion that the original sin of slavery was erased by the signing of the 13th amendment.