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The Atlantic slave trade: What too few textbooks told you - Anthony Hazard

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Slavery has occurred in many forms throughout the world, but the Atlantic slave trade -- which forcibly brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas -- stands out for both its global scale and its lasting legacy. Anthony Hazard discusses the historical, economic and personal impact of this massive historical injustice.

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  • Educator Anthony Hazard
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  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
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Additional Resources for you to Explore
The Atlantic slave trade sent slaves to various locations in the world. What effect did this forced migration have on these areas? Visit the Mariner’s Museum Captive Passage website. Gain some more perspective on how the slave trade affected the Americas. Then read the transcript or listen to this 15 Minute History podcast and find out more. Are you a visual learner? View a graphic about the slave trade and destinations here. Browse the In Motion: the African-American Migration Experience site and find out how African–American migrations help shape the culture, economics, and history of the Americas. The Transatlantic Slave Trade section of this site gives a view of the capture of slaves, their forced migration to other countries, and the impact that this trade had on African demographics. For a great review of all this information, watch Crash Course World History: The Atlantic Slave Trade!
Gain a greater understanding of life aboard the slave ships at PBS. How did these people survive the horrific conditions and what happened aboard the ships? Read about tight packers and loose packers and find out the general daily routine aboard a slave ship here.
What do North America, the Caribbean, Brazil, Europe and Africa all have in common? Each of the areas had a role in the transatlantic slave trade. Visit the Voyages website that has information on over 35,000 slave trade voyages. Examine estimates of the slave trade here and read the names of over 90,000 slaves that were forced to migrate away from their native homeland.
Are there myths and misconceptions about slavery? Do you have any? Rid yourself of them at the Digital History: Slave Fact Sheets. For a complete description of the Origin of Slavery in America visit the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History site.

Avatar for Kell Pihera
What do you think
04/23/2015 • 
 19 Responses
 / 19 Updates
Avatar for Ethan Godfrey
Slaves were treated un-human like on the boat and in England at the time. They are just like every other living human being on the Earth, therefore, they deserve to be treated equal. With that, on the boat, the slaves were given terrible conditions to live on. England should of provided better conditions on the boat ride, and treated the slaves with better care when they arrived in Enland.
03/05/2015 • 
 22 Responses
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Avatar for coby schifcofske
I think it is pathetic that people think slaves were just a peace of meat walking. These peaces of meat walking were actual people with a heart and a love for their family.
03/02/2015 • 
 32 Responses
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Avatar for Sarah Stortenbeker
There is a whole website dedicated to this cause. (https://www.freetheslaves.net/SlaveryinHistory). They outline the historical context in which slavery has occurred and been abolished (of which the Atlantic Slave Trade is part) Why is this significant in our 21st century global context?
02/15/2015 • 
 23 Responses
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Avatar for Steve Hathaway
I'm not sure now where I came by this information, but I've heard (and taught) that the economic model for the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade's focus--slave-worked plantations--started with growing sugar on some of the islands encountered by the Portuguese as they began exploring down the west coast of Africa. The hugely profitable sugar plantations of the Cape Verde/Madeira/Canary islands (though some more than others) when worked by forced labor became a model for not only sugar but other crops. Is that true? Certainly slavery has much deeper 'roots' and Roman practices involved large, slave-worked agricultural models, but cane sugar, with its labor intensive harvesting, growing in the tropics, was a stand-out. Does that view hold water?
02/03/2015 • 
 6 Responses
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Avatar for Josh Burns
Ideas are very powerful. As shown in the video, racism of African Americans came from a justification. If religion condemned slavery, instead of justifying it , slavery still would've continued but do you think the racism of African Americans would've never come about? Even the idea of races distinguish's and categorizes humans, leaving our biased minds vulnerable to ideas of racism. Bound to our psychology,do you think racism is a innate vice that can only be suppressed and not destroyed?
01/01/2015 • 
 8 Responses
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Avatar for Gia Hayes
To know that humans can be so evil, especially to each other, makes me feel pathetic, angry, sad, and even guilty. Yes, slavery is abolished, but we still tend to treat each other awfully. We have to do a much better job of caring for, loving, and uplifting each other. If not, humankind will be destroyed by war and other extreme acts of violence.
08/08/2015 • 
 24 Responses
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Avatar for Christopher Dorey
Slaves should of been treated better
08/28/2015 • 
 7 Responses
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Avatar for daniel lacey
daniel lacey
It could of be possible that the Africans sold a group of slave and recapture them by attacking and capturing ship. Do think the Africans could of successfully rip off the Europeans?
10/19/2015 • 
 5 Responses
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Avatar for John Decker
John Decker
10/19/2015 • 
 7 Responses
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Avatar for Bjørn Schioldan
what if the black people dominated at the time and used the white people like slaves whould it then be the same...
10/28/2015 • 
 8 Responses
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Avatar for Molly Blake
11/04/2015 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Nes Daniel
In the video at 4:43 they talk a lil bit about religion, how it says all are free yet they made a excuse to excuse there actions. I plan to do more back checking on this just for my self as it seems legit but the video only gave me the single book of "Sweet, James H. Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441-1770. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003." I will be looking into this book and other sources, but I would enjoy discussing this matter as I know from previous study's that confederates and union were not the simple boarders of north and south. How did these ideals affect both sides of the civil war and what were there excuses for slavery?
01/07/2016 • 
 3 Responses
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Avatar for Henry Tran
Theoretically, if slavery had remained as it was described in the video from 1:19-1:36, what do you think the outcome would have been like? Slaves were treated much better, and would that have changed anything?
03/03/2016 • 
 5 Responses
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Avatar for Henry Tran
Should African Americans be compensated for slavery in the form of reparations? Who should pay them if so? Who would get paid?
03/03/2016 • 
 2 Responses
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Avatar for Lewis Jefferies
It just seems as though since a lot of the countries involved had some sort of a Christian view, surely if Christianity said 'No, we won't allow this' then it could never have been as bad as it was. Or even at all?
03/24/2017 • 
 2 Responses
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Avatar for Dillon Butcher
Racism has died out, and in places like america has done a 180 and been directed at those who are white skinned, as opposed to black skinned.
05/03/2017 • 
 4 Responses
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Avatar for Dillon Butcher
I posted a discussion, but when I came back to view a reply, it was gone.
05/03/2017 • 
 2 Responses
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Avatar for yeah na
why The Portuguese were the first to engage in the New World slave trade in the 16th century. Between 1418 and the 1470s, the Portuguese launched a series of exploratory expeditions that remapped the oceans south of Portugal, charting new territories that one explorer described as "oceans where none have ever sailed before".[3] In 1526, the Portuguese completed the first transatlantic slave voyage from Africa to the Americas, and other countries soon followed.[4] Shipowners regarded the slaves as cargo to be transported to the Americas as quickly and cheaply as possible,[2] there to be sold to labour in coffee, tobacco, cocoa, sugar and cotton plantations, gold and silver mines, rice fields, construction industry, cutting timber for ships
05/03/2017 • 
 2 Responses
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Avatar for Alex Brattesani
Alex Brattesani
Hi, I am having a history exam later this week and I'm wondering who were the abolitionists involved and what they did to succeed.
05/15/2017 • 
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Avatar for BrENdOg BoI
08/17/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Andre Dom
Why should I?
08/17/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for ethan bernhardt
slavery should of never been start
08/23/2017 • 
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Avatar for adrian carrillo
08/24/2017 • 
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Avatar for Jordan ramirez
08/24/2017 • 
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Avatar for Jaron Hyland
Jaron Hyland
I think that the slave trade was very wrong and they should have just been not lazy.
10/10/2017 • 
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Avatar for Brett Hicks
Brett Hicks
I think loose packing would have been more profitable?
10/10/2017 • 
 4 Responses
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Avatar for Sierra Linsmeyer
Sierra Linsmeyer
Why were they so cruel to people when everyone is a real person there are no differences.
10/10/2017 • 
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Avatar for Alyssa Forstrom
loose packing because it would drop the death rate.
10/10/2017 • 
 3 Responses
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Avatar for Kyle Kruppstadt
It is sickening to think that this awful trade system actually existed and made it possible for these nations to profit off of it. I want to know more on how this was justified more than just the theory of superiority, there has to be a more deeply rooted issue in this.
10/10/2017 • 
 2 Responses
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Avatar for Haley Gabriel
Haley Gabriel
10/11/2017 • 
 2 Responses
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Avatar for Kayla Kelly
Kayla Kelly
10/11/2017 • 
 2 Responses
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Avatar for Lydia McMahon
Lydia McMahon
How responsible do you think slavery has been in creating a mixing pot in America? Would African people eventually immigrate to America if slavery had not happened in America? If they were never slaves would they have been treated better or would people still be racist?
10/11/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Austin Hirthe
Austin Hirthe
I feel that out of the packing options tight packing is far more sufficient. You can carry more and have more to sell when you arrive to your destination.
10/11/2017 • 
 3 Responses
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Avatar for Gavin Londo
Gavin Londo
was tight or loose packing more profitable
10/11/2017 • 
 0 Responses
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Avatar for Sebastian Wendrick
You have to convince the people in this time period that slavery is wrong.
10/11/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Annie McCole
Annie McCole
If there was still a slave trade today how would it be different than it was at the time of this?
10/11/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Jonathan Schmutzler
Why was slavery so important to the development of the Americas?
10/11/2017 • 
 2 Responses
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Avatar for daunte fortner
How does the middle passage make you feel about slavery?
10/11/2017 • 
 2 Responses
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Avatar for Ireland Maroney
Ireland Maroney
It is disgusting of them to even let slavery be a thing. "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave", not then it wasn't. Sure, the Africans were very brave, but it was definitely not a land of the free.
10/11/2017 • 
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Avatar for Jennifer Bevard
Why were the slaves treated so badly? Even to this day they are treated badly and it's not right. Everyone should have been treated the way they wanted to be treated.
10/11/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Brook Tappa
Brook Tappa
10/11/2017 • 
 0 Responses
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Avatar for Christian LAVigne
If the slave trade and slavery in the Americas would've ended early, would it change the result? Or would the world today be the same?
10/11/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for MacKenzie Schwamlien
MacKenzie Schwamlien
10/11/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Grace Lorenzoni
Grace Lorenzoni
10/11/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Trevor Povolo
I do not think that the slave trade would have been as bad if we never found the New World. Slavery still would have existed like it did before the discovery of the New World, but there wouldn't have been nearly as much demand for slaves if it was never discovered.
10/11/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Nate Rutter
Nate Rutter
What would be more beneficial? Tight or Loose packing?
10/12/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Kira Peters
10/12/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Avery Juneau
Did the Atlantic Slave Trade affect the customs and practices of the Africans?
10/13/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Eli Langston
Why?
10/20/2017 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Isaac Lippert
Isaac Lippert
Slavery has been around for 10,000 years, and yet it never existed in the way it did in the America's. What do you think changed? Thinking to our 13 Colonies chart, why do you think slavery was a Southern thing? African tribes sold other Africans into slavery in order to strengthen their own tribe, but how did this really effect Africa?
10/24/2017 • 
 49 Responses
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Avatar for Sean Vadis
ya
11/17/2017 • 
 0 Responses
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Avatar for Sean Vadis
slaves
11/17/2017 • 
 0 Responses
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Avatar for Karan Khemlani
Karan Khemlani
yup
11/17/2017 • 
 0 Responses
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Avatar for Pedro C Alvo
Pedro C Alvo
Did the Atlantic slave trade start in the late 1400? I don't think soo. Although America (the continent) was discovered by Colón (Columbus) the 12th September of 1492, the laws of Castilla forbade the slavery of Native-Americans. You can read the "Testament of Queen Isabel la Católica and, later, the "Leyes de Indias". The natives of the territories of Castilla Crown in America were considederd as naturals of the kingdom and was forbidden putting them in slavery.
02/22/2018 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Pedro C Alvo
Pedro C Alvo
I don't agree, refering to the slave trading between Africa an America, with the late 1400 as starting point. We should considere the middle of XVI century, with the African slavery in Brazil as starting point.
02/22/2018 • 
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Avatar for Pedro C Alvo
Pedro C Alvo
Carlos II, King os Spain, with a "Real célula" in 1693, gives freedom to every slave that comes into Florida, men o women, escaping from the British colonies in North America. Usually they went to San Agustín, being the origin of the "Milicia negra de San Agustín" and "Fuerte Mosé" (Fort Mose).
02/26/2018 • 
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Avatar for Leonard Cry
Leonard Cry
Both. Christianity was use to justify chattel slavery and the use of better technology such as guns equated to Darwinism.
02/26/2018 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Leonard Cry
Leonard Cry
Branding normally happened when arriving in the new world. Shaving heads for lice is rare because the hair texture of west Africans was already very short or bald so lice wasn't a problem then nor present day. Also, large parts of society in west Africa not only had slaves but didn't have to capture , owed debts , and or went to war. The concept of European chattel slavery was totally different than West Africa.
02/26/2018 • 
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Avatar for cody miller
10/12/2018 • 
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Avatar for krystal hernandez
I feel bad cause they should have been freed like a long time ago! 2018-2019 well through 2022 we gotta do something to stop the racism from trump !!!!! :( And what they did and what they do now is not fair what people/slavery go through! we should stand up for our country! When I think about slavery It makes me wanna cry because of what they had to go through; hunger, wars, kindness and more...
11/01/2018 • 
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Avatar for Esma Sabic
12/05/2018 • 
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Avatar for lolo helverson
02/14/2019 • 
 2 Responses
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Avatar for Ricardo Galvan
Slavery is very mean people can mean very cruel especially to each other I just wish that there wasn't a such thing as slavery.
02/15/2019 • 
 2 Responses
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Avatar for quayon rogers
it was wrong
02/15/2019 • 
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Avatar for kevin acosta
we all know that slaves did a lot of the work for the country to thrive both manual labor and for economical purposes. But if slavery wasn't a thing what would have been the economical thrive and would Europeans have done all that labor themselves.
09/17/2019 • 
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Avatar for nathanael keleta
09/23/2019 • 
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Avatar for Stephanie Gates
This discussion is to determine how long-lasting impact of slavery on the descendants of enslaved Africans, slave owners as well as the economy of the countries that were/are dependent on forced labor.
10/07/2019 • 
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Avatar for Roodlyne Vilson
Many people are being rejected or treated unfairly because pf the color of their skin. In some places, African Americans are being killed for no reason. Some African Americans aren't taken seriously or have people look away from them becuase of their appearance. Some people assume that all African Americans are bad people because they are believing the things people say and their being stereotypical.
03/25/2020 • 
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Avatar for Lucas Pugliese
Slavery affected the way people saw other people, in the s.XIX if they saw you as a different color of skin such as black they would think that you were a slave, and if you weren't they would still call you racist slurs. So i think if slavery never became a thing than everyone would see each other equal and no one would need to call someone else a racist word because it would have never existed.
04/06/2020 • 
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Avatar for Ross Mele
Capoeira is the ultimate liberation and success against the slave trade. It survived empowered and continues to symbolize the victory and continues struggle against racial oppression.
06/01/2020 • 
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Avatar for Rüveyda Yağmur ERKEÇ
years ago, Africans were used as slaves. they brought the slaves to Europe through the Atlantic ocean. racism has been around for a long time. people were not equal because of their color a few years ago. blacks had to be slaves. it is sad story.
06/11/2020 • 
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Avatar for Benyamin Yeimo
Are all the slaves who brought from Africa it's just prisoner and the tribes who lost in battle.
06/25/2020 • 
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Avatar for Daniella Cruz
09/11/2020 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Eyan Schneberger
09/23/2020 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for kyara medina
Slavery has occurred in many forms throughout the world, but the Atlantic slave trade -- which forcibly brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas -- stands out for both its global scale and its lasting legacy
09/30/2020 • 
 0 Responses
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Avatar for Austin Ponder
The worst thing to ever be created/done.
10/27/2020 • 
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Avatar for Athi Ngcaba
i feel bad for all the black people that went through that espciallly the one that died on boat but ig now its over i mean what would have happened if there was no trade in the first place
09/15/2021 • 
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Avatar for your moms milkers
10/09/2021 • 
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Avatar for THOMAS HUGHES
What is an idea or statement or image from the video that made an impact on you?
12/14/2021 • 
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Avatar for Andrew Cashin
Are there myths about slavery? Check out the digital fact sheet in Dig Deeper.
01/19/2022 • 
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Avatar for Leo Han
05/08/2022 • 
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Avatar for jaccques  michel
im alien
05/19/2022 • 
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11/09/2022 • 
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Avatar for Anass Tourkzi
11/10/2022 • 
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Avatar for Zakaria Abbady
S.L.A.V.E.S So lord aviator variont endless saves
11/21/2022 • 
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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Anthony Hazard
  • Animator Mike Schell
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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