Nothing to be proud of …
I stumbled across a movie on television the other night titled “Birth of a Nation.” It left me in tears and very angry. I don’t normally write movie reviews, so I probably won’t do it justice, but I wanted to tell you about it.
The film is an historical depiction of a revolt by slaves in Virginia in 1831. The movie is an account as seen by a slave, Nat Turner, who was a minister and the leader of the insurrection.
In the beginning his owner took him from slave holder to slave holder where he preached to the slaves about the virtue of obeying their master. He was asked by a white man if he would baptize him .He did believing it was his religious duty to do so. His owner, believing his reputation was at stake because a “nigger” baptized a white man on his property, ordered him whipped. Although it was just a film the depiction of it was difficult to watch.
Prior to his own beating, his wife was brutally sexually and physically abused to the point she wasn’t even recognizable. The South had no honor as this historically accurate depiction of white slave owners and bosses frequently sexually molesting female slaves, even young girls, is shown on the screen. The film was done with such realism you could almost feel the pain and suffering they were forced to endure. The film depicts a slave having his teeth knocked out with what looked like a chisel and hammer because he refused to eat. He was chained to a wall at the time They knocked out his teeth then poured the food down his throat. Deplorable.
The leading character in the movie, Turner, finds biblical scripture which he believes means that slaves should rise up and free themselves and kill their oppressors. Using hatches, axes, and knives he led other slaves in a revolt. Their numbers grew as more and more slaves were freed — temporarily.
First killed in the revolt was the master who ordered his beating and the boss who administered the whipping. I almost cheered. Included in those killed were the men who had raped and brutalized his wife. It didn’t bother me one bit that the ring leader was beheaded. In what might have been divine providence, or God’s will, the slaves killed about 60 slave owners and their families in Virginia. In my opinion the evil doers met a just death.
Eventually the slaves were all killed, many by hanging. Many of those hanged actually had nothing to do with the revolt. The State militia, or police, put an end to one of the most violent slave revolts in history. They hung the leader of the revolt as white men, women, and children cheered wildly. I am very sure that they burn in hell to this day.
Although the revolt scared slave owners and their families in Virginia, the practice of slavery continued until the Civil War. The movie depicts the children of the slaves who revolted in 1831 in the uniform of the Union army. I cheered.
What a tragic chapter in our history is the period when men, women and children were bought and sold like cattle and treated unmercifully. The despicable and pathological mistreatment of slaves can never, and should never, be forgotten or forgiven.
The South still looks upon this period in their history proudly. It sickens me. Many still canonize their Civil War leaders with monuments and statues which can be found all over the South. Many southerners protest loudly at attempts to remove these monuments from State property. How sad is that? How disgraceful.
Find this film and watch it. It will disturb and touch you as it did me. My comment after watching the atrocities committed by slave owners and bosses was, “Dear Lord, how could you have let this happen?”
This chapter in the history of our country is equal in depravity to Germany during Hitler’s reign. How could any southerner be proud of this time? Lord have mercy, this is nothing to be proud of.
It’s an absolute miracle that the descendants of these slaves, most of whom could not read or write when freed, have come as far as they have. Over the majority of the 150 years since slavery, laws in this country have been written in such a way to keep the descendants of slaves in slavery. It’s unlike what their ancestors experienced but it’s slavery none-the-less. The will-power of these people to succeed, despite their treatment is phenomenal.
God bless you, to these American men, women and children.
To the shame of this country your freedom didn’t happen on Independence Day.
Glen McAdoo, a Fallon resident who offers the Democratic viewpoint, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.