A Story of America’s Shame

Yesterday, I saw the masterpiece by Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave. It is one of the most emotionally moving films I have ever witnessed.

In fact, witnessed is the right word to describe seeing this film, as I felt like I was looking through a window into that place and time in history. To see the graphic effects of a whip on a woman’s bare flesh because of the unspeakable cruelty of the plantation’s master and on a man from being lynched because he wanted freedom is sobering, to understate it.

Based on the true, first person narrative by Solomon Northup, as powerfully portrayed by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, this film captures the horror of America’s Black Holocaust in a way that words cannot convey. The story is of a highly educated, Black American man born as a free citizen in the pre-civil war era who is later kidnapped then sold into the dehumanized state of being a piece of property in the agrarian south.

12 Years a Slave should be required viewing for every American to know this heinous story within the larger context of America’s shame of institutionalized human slavery. It should be watched at waking and before sleeping with every waking moment in between spent trying to atone for the collective psychopathy of this inhuman institution.

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