Essay based on a movie
2. Watch a Movie: Students will select one of the three films related to the history of American slavery and abolition listed below, and write a short (2-3 page) critical review of the film’s historical accuracy. Papers should consider how the depictions of slavery and specific historical characters and events in the film compare to our class discussions, why filmmakers may have chosen to portray historical events or characters as they did, and the importance of the film in shaping the broader contemporary public’s ideas about American slavery. All films are available to stream through Amazon Video, Netflix, and other online streaming services.
The first eligible film is Twelve Years a Slave (2013), a recent Oscar-winning film about the experience of Solomon Northrup, a free man of color kidnapped into slavery in the 1840s. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Brad Pitt. NOTE: Twelve Years a Slave contains graphic depictions of the violence of slavery – if you feel you would not be comfortable viewing such depictions, please select one of the other film options.
The second eligible film is Lincoln, the Spielberg Oscar-winner about the passage of the 13th Amendment, starring Daniel Day-Lewis (and basically everyone else in Hollywood).
The third eligible film is Glory (1989), the story of the 54th Massachusetts, an regiment of free and formerly-enslaved men of color who fought with courage and valor during the Civil War, despite facing prejudice from their own officers and white follow soldiers. Starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman