• Plano African American Historian

Life in the 1800s for African - Americans in the United States

Updated: Feb 16

This exhibit is a collection of videos from other resources about life in the 1800s for African - Americans. Although the collection doesn't focus on North Texas & Surrounding areas, it's important to understand how life was lived by people of color. This collection offers interviews and documentaries.

Part 1: Watch the videos with an open heart, open mind, and willingness to understand the hardships that people faced. The collection of stories account for real - life. The history presented in this exhibit is painful, but it is the story of many people that felt the same way. We thank you for being open to watching these presentations and taking a moment to reflect on the painful past of being enslaved.


Part 2: Complete the Activities


Part 3: After watching the videos, we ask that you help change the way you describe this era and people that were enslaved. Wrong-Way to Describe History: "People were slaves"

Instead, Describe History: "People were enslaved" **Today, most historians speak of “enslaved people” instead of about “slaves.” It may seem small – but it is oh so powerful. By changing from the use of a name – slaves – to an adjective – enslaved– we grant these individuals identity as people and use a term to describe their position in society rather than reducing them to that position. In a small but important way, we carry them forward as people, not the property that they were in that time. This is not a minor thing, this change of language. Enslavement is the noun form of the verb "to enslave (sb)", in other words, to make somebody into a slave.

Slavery is the name of the system under which people are denied their own free will and treated as property. This term is more commonly used than enslavement.

Source: Andilit


Part 1


Video 1: Last Slave Ship Survivor Gave Interview in the 1930s That Surfaced Almost 90 Years Later



Video 2: Ex-Slaves talk about Slavery in the USA A story was done by ABC News in 1999 about slavery was told by people who were slaves. Recorded in the 1940s.


Video 3: Ex-Slave Remembers Slave Life What was a slave life like on a southern plantation? In this video, I bring you the account of Charlie Pye, an ex slave recalling what life was like on a slave plantation in Georgia.



Video 4: Ex-Slave Fountain Hughes Unedited Interview What was a slave life like on a southern plantation? In this video, I bring you the account of Charlie Pye, an ex-slave recalling what life was like on a slave plantation in Georgia.




Video 5: Granny Interview (Slavery/picking cotton/experiencing heaven) [Curse ]

The thing is at this moment she’s not just your grandma, she’s every black person listening to this grandma.



Video 6: Ex-Slave George Johnson | Library of Congress


Video 7: PBS / SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME / The System of Sharecropping




Exhibit Activities:

  1. What can you learn from the interviews, videos, and documentaries in this exhibit?

  2. Is there anything new that you learned?

  3. Based on the videos, how was life for Black men different than Black women?

  4. Based on the videos, how was life for Black men the same as Black women?

  5. Based on the videos, how was life different for Black children compared to Black adults?

  6. Based on the videos, how was life the same for Black children compared to Black adults?

  7. What can we learn about the way history is described in the 1800s from these videos compared to history you learned in school?

  8. In Video #1, what did you already know & what did you learn new?

  9. In Video #2, what did you already know & what did you learn new?

  10. In Video #3, what did you already know & what did you learn new?

  11. In Video #4, what did you already know & what did you learn new?

  12. In Video #5, what did you already know & what did you learn new?

  13. In Video #6, what did you already know & what did you learn new?

  14. What is a Sharecropper?

  15. How many pounds of cotton did Granny (Video 5) pick a day in the hot sun?

  16. Why do you think it is important for everyone?


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