Tomorrow, Bill Moyers’ Journal will preview next week’s television premiere of Traces of the Trade on PBS, in a program to the legacy of slavery and the current socioeconomic landscape of race in the United States.

In addition to previewing the documentary, Bill Moyers will interview Orlando Patterson, a leading sociologist who frequently addresses issues of race, and Glenn Loury, an economist who appears in Traces of the Trade to discuss reparations for slavery.

Moyers is also scheduled to speak with Douglas Blackmon, the Atlanta bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, about his new book, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. This is a fascinating book which, like Traces of the Trade, seeks to explode a pervasive myth of U.S. history—in this case, concerning conditions for black Americans in the century following the end of slavery.

In the Boston area, this program will air on Friday, June 20, at 9:00pm, and will be rebroadcast periodically over the next few days. Check local listings in your area.

4 Responses to “Bill Moyers’ Journal”

  1. kathleen says:

    I live in Huntsville Alabama and found out that our Public TV (APT) will be showing “Traces of the Trade” 11:30 pm on Tuesday night. (Yes, I live in the same town where “60 Minutes” had a tv blackout at our local station when our former governor was going to be featured. )

    Apparently, POV is always regulated to this time frame. A decision made in Birmingham, Alabama. I set my datebook and I will watch. Hopefully, It will be shown somewhere else. I will put it the suggestion box of our library ( And follow up with an email). Thank you for making it available for non-profits.

  2. James says:

    Kathleen, it sounds as though P.O.V. is not a popular series with the station executives at Alabama Public Television! We certainly appreciate your commitment to watching the film, and I hope it isn’t too much trouble ….

  3. Michael Haggerty says:

    I have been waiting for this film since I heard of the Dewolf’s a few years back, appreciate the efforts of the Dewolf family. I was a little disappointed that there was only limited dialogue about Africans involved in the trade i.e. How some Africans were threatened with death or enslavement themselves if they did not capture those from other ethnic groups …; how Africans were also enslaved by Europeans on the continent (Who built the slave castles for example, no commentary on what was and continues to be spiritual warfare denigrating spiritual traditions of Africans effectively diminishing their humanity, the intentional underdevelopment of Africa and African diasporic countries and communities.)


    Do you intend to engage the presidential candidates and Congress on the issues of race , white supremacy and inequalities?

    Was your collective acknowledgement that something needs to be done NOW sincere …if so … how far are you willing to go to establish a meaningful conversation in the white community?

    Do you intend to engage the education community K-12 PLUS to change how history is told in schools, which would help?

    Are you willing to invest directly in grassroots African American organizations which have been denigrated for their calls for reparations and education on America’s legacy?

  4. James says:

    Thanks for commenting here, Michael.

    Katrina felt that she didn’t have the time in the film to go into much detail about the African role in the slave trade. In general, most Africans participated eagerly in the trade, as it brought unparalleled riches to the societies along Africa’s Atlantic coast. European (and American) traders were rarely in a position to force those societies to do anything they didn’t want to do, until after the era of slave trading, when the colonization and the true exploitation of Africa began.

    Various family members have, in fact, been working to lobby members of Congress to address the issues of race raised by the film. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, attended our world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and spoke about the need to hold hearings on legislation to address these matters. He also indicated that the film, and DeWolf family members, could continue to play a role in raising awareness around legislation now pending on Capitol Hill.

    Our commitment to engaging the nation on dialogue on issues of race is sincere, and our outreach plans for the film include the educational issues you raise. We have been presenting the film at education conferences, for instance; we have worked with P.O.V. to develop lessons plans and other educational materials based on the film; and we are developing plans to get the film and related discussion materials into middle school, high school, and college classrooms. Hopefully this will also help with the broader movement to change how we teach history in our schools.

    (I’m not interested in establishing a conversation specifically within the white community, but that sort of racially-segregated conversation is a goal of several of the film members in the film, one of whom specifically mentions that she’s interested in talking only with other white people about these issues.)

    Could you say more about the grassroots organizations that you’d like to see investment in? We would certainly like to help connect interested viewers to worthy organizations they could contribute to.

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