The brand new series is “A Slave, But Now I’m Free.” Most of the series will be biographical spotlights on women who escaped slavery, but I find that many people have a mental image of slavery that is entirely based on the American antebellum south. Slavery is much older than that, and hasn’t always looked like that, so this episode is an overview of the institution itself: when it began, how people became slaves, what rights they did (and mostly didn’t) have, and how slaves fought back.
A major source for this episode is my handwritten notes from Dr. Miller’s History of Civ, 1500 to the present, but they are unpublished, so let’s go with Milton Meltzer’s Slavery: A World History.
The extraordinary Federal Writer’s Project, which sent writers out to collect stories from former American slaves, can be perused at this link.
Some have argued that Haiti is the only successful slave revolt in world history. You can read more about that here.
In the episode, I briefly mention the theory that Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” may be a fictional slave narrative, and here is one literature study guide that discusses that theory.