An American Nightmare: Black Labor and Liberation

American Nightmare: Black Labor and Liberation is a documentary series exploring the roots of anti-black racism in the United States. How can Black communities defend themselves against the deeply ingrained structures of racism? How can they build collective resistance and unite with people of all ethnicities to root out racism, white supremacy and dismantle the structures that seem to make it so necessary?


An American Nightmare engages one of the most pressing social issues of our time: the disposability of Black people in the United States. For centuries enslaved or cheap Black labor created vast wealth for the United Stats. To ensure these profits an arsenal of judicial, social and physical tools were created to control and contain the Black population. A vicious system of racism reinforced and justified their dehumanization. It locked the vast majority of Black people into unskilled labor pools and maintained barriers to mobility. The 1950s and 60s witnessed a massive Black rebellion against the structural racism woven into the DNA of the country’s economic system and reinforced by a white supremacy that infects the society. At the same time U.S. capital, cognizant of the potential disruptive upheavals of the Black revolt against racism, intensified its drive for cheaper and more compliant sources of labor. Globalization and automation represent a dramatic change that has made Black labor increasingly unnecessary. The Black working class continues to be socially and politically demonized by the media as a burdensome surplus population. The mass incarceration of millions of Black and Brown people, the occupation of Black communities by militarized police and the daily extrajudicial killings by agents of the state must be seen as means to control a an economically irrelevant demographic with a long history of resistance.