Now is a good time to reflect on how movies about emancipation and Slavery have been used to tell different parts of the story of America. From Birth of a Nation to The Help, movies have often been vehicles for examining race and prejudice in America.
But they also provide a window into what life was like for freed people and their descendants. Here are 10 movies about emancipation.
A young Abraham Lincoln (Raymond Massey) leaves his home in Kentucky in the early 1830s to study law and make a name for himself. Abe meets Ann Rutledge (Ruth Gordon) in the sleepy hamlet of New Salem, Illinois, while traveling to New Orleans to deliver several pigs he raised with his father.
Abe returns to town, starts a business, and marries Ann before gradually working his way into politics and the fateful future that will see him become one of America's most recognizable presidents.
With unprecedented access to James Baldwin’s original work, Raoul Peck completed a documentary film version of the novel Baldwin never finished—a radical narration about race in America that tracks the lives and assassinations of Baldwin’s friends Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers.
A Woman Called Moses stars Cicely Tyson as real-life escaped slave Harriet Tubman. At the risk of recapture, Tubman helped organize the Underground Railroad, which enabled hundreds of enslaved African Americans to make their way to the freedom of the North.
Adding to the tension are Harriet's frequent epileptic fainting spells. Orson Welles narrates this adaptation of Marcy Heidish's novel.
This historical saga is a stirring fusion of folklore, political impact, and dynamic story-telling, realized in vibrant tropical colors and set to the pulsing beat of Gilberto Gil's musical score. After the slave revolt of 1641, groups of enslaved black Brazilians escaped to mountainous jungle strongholds where they formed self-governing communities.
Luke is the loyal slave of a Kentucky horse breeder who is sold to the cruel Mississippi plantation owner MacKay. The evil slave owner has the black beauty, Cassie, as his mistress, who longs to escape the clutch of her master.
Solomon Northup was a black man in the mid-19th century who was born a freeman and worked as a carpenter and part-time musician. Approached to play for a group of men, he is kidnapped and sold into slavery.
Based on the autobiography 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup and the first filmed version of his story.