shellcase (shellcase) wrote in sailhistory,

A Great Film For Both African-American And Sailing History Buffs

A few weeks ago I saw a great film on The History Channel that combined my two of my favorite sub-areas of US History.

Time Machine: USS Constellation: Battling for Freedom :

"As the United States sought to close a dark chapter in its history, it relied on a small, intrepid fleet and its splendid flagship to bring an end to the evil trade in human lives."

"A little-known chapter in our young nation's history is masterfully retold in this dramatic examination from THE HISTORY CHANNEL®. Centered on the USS Constellation?s pursuit of the slaveship Cora, this remarkable documentary examines slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War."

"Simply outlawing the unconscionable trade in human lives in 1808 didn't bring the horrid practice to an end. Importing slaves from Africa was just too profitable, and even Northern businessmen - men who would take an entirely different stance once Civil War erupted - continued to reap its devilish rewards."

"TIME MACHINE examines every side of this complicated story with exhaustive research, first-person narratives, and cinematic re-enactments. Follow the travails of a young hunter torn from his village and sent to his doom aboard Cora. Board the USS Constellation to match wits and firepower with the slave smugglers. And learn how the slave trade continued to thrive Stateside long after it had been outlawed."

"USS CONSTELLATION: BATTLING FOR FREEDOM realistically and forcefully recreates the horror of the slave trade, the challenging mission of the African Squadron, and Constellation's heroic effort to stop slave smugglers." (Source:

As a student of African American history, I liked how the film because it was a realistic view of how the sailors and officers felt about slavery right before the US Civil War along with a gritty look of how Africans were captured, treated and sometimes rescued.

As a newcomer to sailing history, I liked how the film shows daily live aboard ship for both slave traders and US Navy personnel. You also get an insight into how the ship operated under pressure during difficult times.

I hope you check it out on tv or dvd.
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