12 Years A Slave Religion

Great Essays
Over the course of American history, the three sectors of race, nation, and religion have all played very influential roles in charting the course that our country has taken through time. Over the course of the past century, mass media and pop culture have become the driving forces that have made race, nation, and religion the catalyzing forces they have become in defining our past, present, and future as a country. An allure that started with The Birth of a Nation in 1915 has now expanded to command a full-blown grip on the nation in just 100 years. People quite simply are drawn to movies unlike anything else and the beliefs that they portray on the big screen oftentimes become conflated with reality. Due to this American fixation with film, …show more content…
For the vast majority of slaves, they were forced to witness and endure inhumane conditions and circumstances. Families were ripped apart, whips were used as punishment, and lynchings were commonplace. For any human being, it would be near impossible to live through circumstances such as these. Because of this, many blacks turned to religion as a means of community and comfort in tough times. One of the most moving scenes in the entire movie comes when all of the slaves on Epps’ plantation come together after one of their own is killed and is buried in a grave. They all begin singing “Roll, Jordan, Roll” and the viewer is clearly able to see how slaves would use religion as a crutch to keep themselves going in life. Ironically, slave masters, such as Epps, who preached religion to their slaves as means of control, grew fearful when their slaves began to follow the same religion they were preaching simply because they feared that it would cause them to long for their freedom. Charity Carney, a religion blogger, agrees with this belief when she stated, “Epps so perfectly depicts the notion that many slaveholders were suspicious of both their slaves and their God. These kinds of superstitions and fears lasted in to the Civil War…” (Carney). In the end, the interconnection of race, nation, and religion could not be clearer than it is depicted in 12 Years A Slave. We …show more content…
However, as mentioned earlier, it is my argument that each of these films also furthers the intrinsic racism that is still found in many American people today in various ways. 12 Years A Slave provides a very clear example of this issue. For the most part, this was a movie that was widely celebrated for its graphic, moving depiction of Solomon Northrup’s experience as a slave in Antebellum America. The primary focus of the film on the brutal treatment of Northrup came at the hands of two slave masters, Tibeats and Edwin Epps. Both of these men were ruthless slave masters who relied on the whip heavily. One of the most moving scenes in the movie came when Tibeats attempted to lynch Northrup but got interrupted and left him hanging from the noose and Northrup was forced to stand on his tiptoes for hours just to live. However, there is another white male slave owner in the film that received far less exposure and screen time than Tibeats and Epps. That man was Ford, the first man to purchase Northrup into slavery. Ford works for Tibeats and interacts with Northrup on a number of occasions. It is clear that Ford tries to treat Northrup with dignity and respect. He gives him a violin and speaks with Tibeats positively on Northrup’s

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