One thing that really gets on my nerves is how unaware some of our local moviegoers can be. A movie like "Django Unchained" is typically cited by many as a "favorite movie," but many people don't know that "Django" is an abolitionist film.
Far too many Arkansans don't know about the Abolitionists and have never heard of the Abolitionist Movement. They may recognize Frederick Douglass' name, but fail to realize that Douglass was an integral surfer riding on waves of the abolitionist movement. Writings, words, and prayer in a newspaper were part of the abolitionist agenda and William Lloyd Garrison spearheaded a strong segment of the movement via journalism and freedom of the press. His works were met with fierce and violent opposition.
"The Abolitionists" is a well-put together PBS documentary that runs in several parts. Each segment features Harriet Beecher Stowe, Angelina Grimke, William Lloyd Garrison, and John Brown the abolitionist who killed slave owners on a fiery, bloody mission to end slavery. The abolitionists of the 17th century believed slavery would collapse in their lifetime, and with prayer, they believed slavery would be abolished on the very next day. They did not stop fighting or believing. They appealed to the Christian sensibilities of slaveholders and argued that demoralized and dehumanized slave owners.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will run "The Abolitionists" at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center on Feb. 22. UALR has plans to revitalize neighborhoods and commercial areas near South University and Colonel Glenn Road.
Read more on the revitalization project here.
UALR's Center for Arkansas History and Culture was awarded $150,000 in grant monies from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Other documentaries are scheduled this year as well: "The Loving Story" another HBO documentary of a black woman and white man who married in Virginia when interracial marriages were illegal. The couple fought and fought the US Constitution to have their marriage recognized.
"Slavery by Another Name" and "Freedom Riders" are also scheduled to run in conjunction with UALR's Center for Arkansas History and Culture as part of the NEH grant.