"Slavery was a gross evil. We must acknowledge our past." So says a pastor from New Jersey, the northernmost southern state, which was the last to abolish slavery. As I was watching "The Price of Silence part one" on PBS, it wasn't lost on me that the platform I was viewing this title on alone speaks volumes about its validity and power. It wasn't long before I learned that twenty percent of the population of Bergen county alone were once enslaved. Slave ships and slave auctions were all a part of its sordid history - the port was a huge part of the trade industry, where enslaved people worked various jobs. New Jersey also provided the south with uniforms and ammunition during the civil war - it wasn't a loyalist-friendly state at all.
In the film, historians recount stories of their families, like Friday Truehart, who was owned by Oliver Hart and passed down in a will to his son as if he were an object. Friday became a landowner and passed the land to his sons. There was also Sylvia Dubois, who was beaten every day by her mistress until she decided to whip her mistress into submission, gaining her freedom. I could go on, but I believe the filmmakers do a way better job of telling these stories than I ever could. On a personal note, I can't even begin to imagine what these times were like. Not one bit.
When it's all said and done, "The Price of Silence, the Forgotten Story of New Jersey's Enslaved People" is truly a top-notch, 100 percent professional project. I almost feel unworthy of reviewing it. What more is there really to write? This is a film that, I believe, should be played in schools and used for education. Hell, everyone on earth should watch it at least once to learn from this dark period in history... and this is only the first part! Without hesitation, this is a documentary that has earned a four-and-a-half-star rating. Well done, and thank you - this was a half hour extremely well spent.