Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives
"The material used for this beautifully made HBO documentary dates back to the 1930s when journalists conducted thousands of interviews with former slaves who'd been emancipated at the end of the Civil War. A selection of these faithfully transcribed "slave narratives" are vividly read (acted, really) here by a host of distinguished performers, ranging from Samuel L. Jackson to Oprah Winfrey, from Don Cheadle to Angela Bassett, with narration by Whoopi Goldberg. Since there's obviously no film available from the slave period, the producers use artfully edited photos, file footage, some atmospheric new film, and shots of the performers in action to bring the material to life. Add all of that to the DVD bonus features (text bios of individual slaves and a couple of lengthy audio segments), and you have a moving record of bitter, weary, yet resilient and quietly proud people living with memories that never would, or could fade."
We have the following critique:
1. We use the terms "enslaved people/enslaved Africans" not "slaves". (notes)
2. We use the word "enslaver" not "master/owner/slave-owner". We use "labor camp" not "plantation". (notes)
3. Despite the narratives, there were no "good slave owners". To enslave people requires complicity with systems and institutions that strip another human being of their humanity. There were no benevolent enslavers and cheerful, proud "slaves". (notes) (notes) (notes) (notes)