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series: Simon Schama's Rough Crossings
air date: 2/11/13 1:30 AM
At the end of the American Revolution, thousands of African-American slaves risked everything to fight for the British in exchange for a promise of freedom. John Clarkson, a young Royal Navy lieutenant, was sent to North America by British abolitionists to fulfill that promise. According to plan, each slave would be resettled in Nova Scotia. However, when that frigid, rocky terrain proved inhospitable to those who had worked the cotton fields of the Deep South, Clarkson arranged for them to be transported across the Atlantic to Sierra Leone. Using journals, diaries and autobiographical accounts, writer-narrator Simon Schama (SIMON SCHAMA'S POWER OF ART) reconstructs this epic journey. Gripping dramatizations transport viewers from the slave plantations of Georgia to the bone-chilling cold of Nova Scotia to the trim parlors of Georgian England and finally to sweltering Sierra Leone, where Clarkson's dreams of a haven for former slaves would come to a tragic end.
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