Amazon developing series in which freed slaves in US set up own country

An Amazon.com driver stands next to an Amazon delivery truck in Los Angeles, California, US, on May 21, 2016.
An Amazon.com driver stands next to an Amazon delivery truck in Los Angeles, California, US, on May 21, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (NYT) - Joining a recent boon in alt-history dramas, Amazon is developing a series called Black America that imagines what would happen if freed African-Americans after the Civil War formed their own nation from three Southern states as reparations for slavery.

The show invited immediate comparisons to Confederate, an upcoming HBO drama that also imagines a modern world in which the American South seceded and slavery remains legal. That project has drawn a social media backlash, with fears that a depiction of modern-day slavery would be exploitative and racially insensitive.

Both series will land in an America that seems as racially divided as ever.

In the back story of Black America, the former slaves claim Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, forming New Colonia.

The series picks up in the current day when New Colonia and the United States have enjoyed two decades of peace. But the new nation is growing rapidly while the old one declines.

Black America will be Amazon's second high-profile foray into alternative history.

In 2015, The Man In The High Castle imagined a 1960s in which the allies lost World War II, with Germany and Japan splitting up the United States.