“To move forward, we have to look back.”

On Wednesday, Smithsonian Channel released the first trailer for the new four-part docuseries “One Thousand Years of Slavery”, from Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance’s production company.

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“Each episode in this remarkable four-part series spotlights powerful stories of notable individuals courageously sharing their deeply personal Black experiences. It’s the 1,000-year story of how slavery stained the past, shaped the present, and continues to re-write our future,” the official description reads.”

“By sitting down with change-makers, inspirational creators, brave community leaders and emerging notable dreamers, the series shares unimaginable accounts from distinguished leaders including Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, Senator Cory Booker, and actor David Harewood. Through preserved historical documentation and insight from studied experts, every story unfolds to chronicle how slavery frames the present and continues to act as a distinct force on the future. It’s a dialogue of reflection, oppression, and progression, offering diverse perspectives proving that this challenging yet imperative global conversation will continue for decades to come.”

Talking about the project, Vance said, “The Smithsonian Channel and Smithsonian brand are known around the world as a trusted resource that makes history accessible for all. We couldn’t think of a better outlet to tell this important and increasingly relevant history. We are incredibly proud to be part of this journey.”

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Bassett added, “As an executive producer on One Thousand Years of Slavery, Bassett Vance Productions wanted to tell the globally comprehensive history of slavery. Finding the right partner and audience who share common beliefs and values was absolutely imperative as we navigate a topic that still hurts decades later. One Thousand Years of Slavery stretches the canvas beyond the 400 years we think we’ve traditionally learned about and I am thrilled to bring this storytelling to life with Smithsonian Channel.”

The series comes from British-Nigerian director David Olusoga, who said, “Slavery is not that long ago. It’s really recent. It’s painfully close to us, and it’s no surprise it’s still shaping our societies. Our aim is to break away from just seeing the slave trade as a phenomena that exists after the conquest and discovery of the New World, but to look back. It’s to set what happened in the New World in context, that it came from somewhere.”

“One Thousand Years of Slavery” is set to air in 2022.