November 25

Harriet – Extra Credit

Out of the three movies I’ve seen this semester, I enjoyed this one the most.  It had a clear narrative, gave me new info that I didn’t know about Harriet Tubman, and was done well with beautiful cinematography and good acting (and did not have distracting CGI fighter planes and explosions).  This Harriet, the way she is portrayed in the film, is a feminist hero.  She doesn’t let men stop her from achieving her goals.  And she is brave, bordering on fearless, and incredibly strong, both mentally and physically.  Harriet Tubman Bounty

I had a few questions which I was able to find out the answers to:

  1. Did she actually have visions from God?  Yes, she believed they were visions sent to her from God, and she suffered all her life with seizures, migraines, and narcolepsy from the brain injury she sustained when she was younger.
  2. Was her mother and the rest of her family freed in a will?  Yes.
  3. Was there a real Gideon Brodess?  Apparently not.  This part was made up, but I loved how Harriet left him with his bleeding hand and told him that he was going to die on a battlefield in a couple of years.  So, since he didn’t exist we can’t check on the accuracy of that prediction.  But Edward and Eliza Brodess, Gideon’s parents, were both real people and Harriet and her family’s owners.  It was the death of Edward that spurred on Harriet to leave because she was about to be sold.
  4. Did she actually lead a company of Black soldiers in the Civil War?  Yep, and it looks like during that engagement, they may have freed up to 750 slaves.
  5. How many slaves did Harriet free?  The movie’s total is more likely accurate at 70 though in her biography published in 1869, she said she had freed 300.  Since she only made 13 trips on the URR before the Civil War, 70 is much more likely number.
  6. I knew that William Still was a real person, but what about Marie Buchanon?  No, Marie was not a real person, but there were many free blacks in Philadelphia who owned their own businesses like Marie.


Questions I’d like you to answer: 

  1. Talk about the power of family and their connections – Harriet and her family – and compare that to the portrayal of the Brodess family in the film.
  2. Do you agree that Harriet’s portrayal in the film is that of a feminist hero?  Why or why not?  Provide some specifics to back up your assertion.  Also, do you think that this portrayal has been influenced by the writer and director of the film, Kasi Lemmons, a black woman?  Why or why not?
  3. News surfaced a few weeks ago that Julia Roberts (a white woman) was initially considered for the role of Harriet Tubman when the idea of a film was pitched over 20 years ago.  Discuss how much Hollywood has changed in the portrayal of people of color and also how important it is for people of color and LGBTQ folks to see themselves accurately portrayed in the media.
  4. What did you think of the portrayal of Bigger Long and Walter, both free blacks who worked with Gideon to recover Harriet and her family?  This was a real practice to use both black and white slave hunters, and according to an article, $200 was really hard to pass up.  What does the existence of free black slave trackers say about money and the institution of slavery?  Why?

Pick three questions to answer and finish by December 1st.  350 words minimum for your total answer.  

Tags: , , ,

Posted November 25, 2019 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

12 thoughts on “Harriet – Extra Credit

  1. Joelle Allen

    2. I feel that making her the main character responsible for her accomplishments was historically accurate as well as an appreciated theme in the movie. I don’t know if Harriet herself was a feminist, I personally think Harriet was more independent than intentionally feminist. She did, however, believe in equality between races so I don’t doubt equality between genders was something she’d agree with as well. I feel that anyone who doubted her in the movie, doubted her more because of all that could go wrong with her illiteracy and spells. I don’t remember anyone doubting her because she was a woman, it was more a mixture of her conditions and the dangers of what could go wrong. But of course I agree with her being the hero, that’s the entire point of the movie. Harriet is the Moses of her people, she’s a heroic figure literally rescuing people. And I’m glad the director represented the main character because then portrayals would be more authentic. The experience of black women would be more of a first-hand experience for a black female director compared to anyone else who would’ve gathered second-hand info.
    3. Over the past twenty years, many movements have popped up. More and more people are finding their voices: women, students, people of color, the lgbt+ community, immigrants, etc. With that the arts have expanded as well, Hollywood produces media enjoyed by everyone and there’s significance in movies that reflect it’s audience. I think that creative outlets are always looking for more diverse creators and stories, but on another note, I think some companies recognize how much money there is in representation in movies. Harriet is not one of these, but some tv shows queer-bait to get viewers and some ideas could be offered simply because they’ll bring a lot of people in. Of course, that’s the goal for all movies, but it lowers the authenticity of movies that are made for money and not the story. Harriet did an amazing job of using a strong cast though, especially in a project where skin tone makes all the difference. The Hate U Give received some backlash for casting a lighter main actress, but the cast of Harriet gives girls a chance to see themselves exactly as they are. They didn’t change the skin, hair, or features of what people really look like. A movie is only meaningful when people can relate.
    4. I think a lot of people forget that other African Americans had a hand in this as well. The two men helping Gideon reminded me of the tribes that sold other men and women into slavery in Roots. Everyone wants money and power and it’s easy to disregard how you come by it when you’re not the victim of it. Some blacks owned slaves and servants as well because slavery was just as much a symbol of wealth as it was of brutality. I appreciate that the movie wasn’t white people versus black people. There’s evil in all races and by using those two characters it destroys the notion that everyone of a race is exactly the same. It was a good detail that viewers will appreciate after they get over their frustration of the betrayal.

  2. Taylor Hunter

    Harriet Movie Extra Credit

    The Harriet Tubman film was a very interesting film, I think one of the main ideas in the film was family. Right at the beginning, I saw the importance of family being portrayed. When Harriet and John went to talk to Mr.Brodess about their family being free. That whole time her family was right there behind her. Harriet’s family has a strong bond of togetherness as opposed to the Brodess family. The Brodess family seems to have a lot of disagreements with each other and their bond as a family doesn’t seem as connected to that of Tubman’s. Especially after the time of Mr.Brodess’ passing, the son, Gideon, and the mother didn’t agree on certain things. They couldn’t seem to come to an agreement about anything. I do think that one of the goals for the director was to show the feminist aspect of Harriet in the movie. In an interview, Kasi Lemmons, mentions that now was a good time to share the ideas of women taking control and never letting their own activism die. Lemmons says that a goal of hers for the movie was to have a woman express that single-minded thinking, and the purpose that Harriet carries. Seeing that the movie was directed and produced by women, they had the mindset of making sure that the strength of women was strongly portrayed. In the movie, their were small details that showed those aspects of Harriet being a feminist hero. For instance, when Harriet first notioned to the idea of going back and getting slaves to bring them back to Pennsylvania, Still told her that she couldn’t. As the strong individual she is, she told him that he couldn’t tell her what she could and couldn’t do. So, on multiple occasions, Harriet did bring back those slaves without any harm done to herself, he was surprised everytime. As I mentioned, Lemmons wanted the actor who was going to portray Harriet to hold that power and tenacity. One controversial topic being who was going to portray Harriet. Julia Roberts was considered to play Harriet. Over the course of 20 years, not only Hollywood has changed but so has society. The idea of having a white woman play a strong black leading character just doesn’t seem right. 20 years ago, civil rights were important, but not as important as they’ve become today. In today’s society, there are issues within both LGBTQ community and POC community. Both groups seem to have poor images displayed in media. In LGBTQ, they portray as bad because some people see same sex marriage or something other than marriage between man and woman as morally wrong. In POC, the media puts the image of black people or people of color in general as bad. In news articles and other forms of media, they’ve labled innocent people of color as thugs and other names based on skin color. Being that Harriet Tubman was one of the reasons that african american culture has been made the way it is and the freedoms we have today, having a white woman portray that isn’t right. In the film, there are 2 free black men who help Gideon try and find Harriet and her family. At the time in which this takes place, I’d understand that $200 was really hard to pass up, especially for the black people. Being that they probably had families to take care of and this was the only way. I think that money played a big part in slavery. During the in class lessons, it was mentioned that there were even black slave owners so they could feel they have achieved that status that a white man could hold. I think that black people being slave catchers has something to do with that status. If a black man became a slave owner or catcher, they felt as though they’ve achieved that status although the may not get treated that way. Overall, the film did do a great job of achieving that goal of sharing that power it should have held.

  3. Courtney Little

    The connection between family seemed to be a strong theme/ main idea that carried throughout the entire movie. At the beginning of the movie when Harriet and her husband went to talk to her slave owner, Mr.Brodess about giving them their freedom and starting a family, Harriet’s entire family was there behind her, supporting them. The bond that Harriet and her family share strongly juxtapose the bond/ connection the Brodess family share. The Brodess family don’t seem to see eye to eye on some things, one of them being keeping Harriet as a slave. Mr. Brodess had mentioned that he would’ve sold Harriet a long time ago if it wasn’t his son, Gideon. Even after Mr. Brodess died, Ms. Brodess and Gideon didn’t agree on many things, one of them being what to do with the slaves when they found out they couldn’t pay for their property. Overall their connection as a family compared to Harriests connection to her family always seemed very weak and damaged and lacked any kind of real bond. I don’t think Harriet was necessarily portrayed as a “feminist hero” in the movie, I think she was portrayed more as someone who stood for the equal rights between black people and white people rather than men and women, nevertheless, her journey from her plantation to Philadelphia did indeed show that women are very much capable of being independent, and I don’t think that she would oppose the idea of equality between genders. I do think that Harriet’s portrayal in the movie was most definitely, heavily influenced by the director as a black woman. As a black woman, Lemmons made sure that the strength and independence of women were highlighted and boldly portrayed by Harriet in the film. I guess you could also say that there was at some point a feminist side of Harriet showed. Over the past twenty years, the public ( society) has changed and is continuing to change. I think Hollywood has changed with the rest of society in terms of whats piquing people’s interest. People have become more interested in stories about people in the LGBTQ+ community, so feeding off of that, they could produce movies to fit the people’s desires. Harriet Tubman’s name signifies her freedom from slavery she was the first women to escape slavery alone, I feel casting that Cynthia Erivo was a good decision. I think that the two black men helping Gideon to find Harriet was trying to achieve a higher status and earn more money, because of $200 was really hard to pass up. The exitance of black slave trackers shows that as a black person finding a stable job that pays good money was a hard thing to do, especially since there was “slave” branded to the race of black people.

  4. Zena Kissinger

    I really liked the portrayal of Harriet and her family in this film. You could really tell that there was a realness to it, with her brothers showing their eagerness to leave the plantation and the sorrow and fear Rachel, her sister, had when Harriet tried to get her to escape. It was clear to tell that Harriet cared a lot about her family and their safety, and this was clearly demonstrated when she would go back to the Brodess house and plantation, when she went to bring her husband to Philadelphia (in which she ended up forgetting about him when he revealed that he had a new wife who was pregnant), and as well as Rachel, several months later. Compared to the Brodess family, the bond between Gideon and his mother, Eliza, wasn’t as strong compared to that of Harriet’s family, as it seemed like Eliza cared more about having the social status benefits of having a lot of slaves rather than her family’s well-being, while it seemed like Gideon cared more about trying to please his mother (although he did want to have a high social status).
    I agree with the portrayal of Harriet Tubman as a feminist hero. In the film, her role as an American hero was pictured in a way that was made clear she was for women’s equality when she kept making trips back and forth to bring slaves to Philadelphia so they could be free. When this was done at the time, this was considered to be a big deal considering it was a time when women were considered weak, so she showed a great deal of strength when she went to rescue the slaves. Also, the writing of this movie could have been influenced by the fact that it was written by a black woman, because it could have been more authentic rather than if another race directed the film.
    It’s really good that we live in a society where it’s normal for people of certain races to portray their own race or ethnicity. If Harriet was made twenty years ago and was portrayed by a woman in black face, it would have been very controversial because this would have been considered racist. It’s important that minorities and members of the LGBT community can see themselves in characters in films like this because it can show that they are being represented accurately.

  5. grace kauffman

    1. The movie Harriet, has a lot of good themes and historically accurate elements. One of those themes is the power of family and their connectedness. Harriet was born into slavery and growing up, she was forced to watch some of her siblings sold into slavery, far away from her and the rest of her family. When Harriet grows older, she runs away on a whim after facing permanent separation from her loved ones and being told by the Brodess family that her children, if she were to have any, cannot be born free and were destined for a life of captivity. Harriet chooses to run away and become a free woman regardless of the fact that a lot of her loved ones were still stuck in captivity. This obviously was a hard choice for her to leave her loved ones, but ultimately knows it is the only way to escape bondage. Harriet’s family dynamic is very different to that of the plantation owners, the Brodesses. The Brodesses obviously haven’t had to deal with anything compared to what Harriet’s family had to and were very ignorant to that fact.
    2. I think that Harriets portrayal in the film is that of a hero. The film focuses on her determination and tenacity, but also peels back her layers, showing her intimate relationship with God and the value of her religion to fuel her hopefulness, persistence, and bravery. I think that this portrayal was definitely influenced by the director, who is a black woman, because it is kind of hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in that way. If a white male director was chosen to direct this film, it wouldn’t have held the same sense of complexity and richness because a white male would have a hard time trying to understand how a black woman might have felt in that time period, in the position she was in.
    3. I think the portrayal of minorities and people of color in hollywood has definitely evolved over time. Are things where they should be? Probably not, but we’re moving in the right direction. This movie is the first portrayal of Harriet Tubman in a major motion picture, despite the fact she is such a historical figure and American hero.

  6. Sydney Jones

    1) Harriet and her family survived all circumstances. When Harriet ran away, she visted her father before she went. Instead of her father being upset, he was very understanding as well as worried for her and her journey. He gave her directions to the pastors church and his jacket for warmth, even though he couldn’t even look at her with his own eyes out of fear for her. Although she was going alone on this long, dangerous road to freedom, he wanted her to at least feel the feeling of freedom that she would’ve never felt on the Brodess’s land. His love for Harriet ran over his own fears. When Gideon Brodess’s father died, Gideon had to take over. His mother was stressed out beyond belief about their financial depts that were adding up slowly as time went on. (Mostly due to Harriets rescue events from their plantation.) Gideon took over for his father and made sure his mother didn’t stress herself to death (fortunately, she still almost did). When she did fall sick, he took care of her and stayed by her bedside.

    3) In Hollywood nowadays, there’s a pressure on directors and producers to bring minorities to the camera. The internet have given people the voice to be heard by big-time moneymakers in the film industry. People can start revolts and accusations of discrimination as Hollywood as always been directed in the white race’s favor. For example, Tiana, from Princess and The Frog Disney movie, is the only black princess ever. Some people may not see that as a big deal, but overall, in the media theres not much of black women in popular scenes, if only as the sassy best friend. Little black girls and even mixed girls still don’t have representation in most areas. For examole, superheroes aren’t very inclusive to everone, especially in the LGBTQ+ crowd. People can never see themselves be on the same screen as straight people, only as “the gay best friend”. While almost all movies are about straight romance, or it always involves the romatic side of things, instead of movies about people doing stuff other that doesnt talk about romantic partners.
    4) In the movie, Bigger Long and Walterwere not suprising for me to see. During those times, being the one to hunt is much better than to be the one who was hunted. Though it showed the total betrayal in the black community, there wasn’t just the fear of white people trying to kill you and torture, there were black people as well trying to. There was so much hate, it created bitterness that allowed for the hated group to be willing to do anything to keep themselves safe with the feeling of little power. Just like the poor whites who didn’t have slaves. They still supported the institution of slavery because they wanted to be above the black people. The black people during this time wanted to be above someone just like the white people wanted to be.

  7. Rhyan Hurns

    I think in the modern sense she would be considered a feminist by others. However, in her own eyes, she was just doing what was right for her people and that was giving all blacks the equality and freedom they deserved. I don’t think she did anything specifically to give women more equality because first and foremost she is black so it didn’t matter if she was a woman or a man she was seen as property. So her main concern was the freedom of all black people first. I do believe the portrayal of Harriet Tubman was influenced by the writer and director. She is a strong independent black woman and it is showed through the eyes of a strong black woman. Harriet Tubman is someone everyone knows (and should know) from history and even if there wasn’t a black woman as the director they should know the impact of her actions and it should be displayed in the movie.
    I think in the last twenty years the portrayal of people of color and LGBTQ people has gotten better. Although, there is always room for improvements not just actors in minorities and LGBTQ communities, also with directors and writers. With the movie Black Panther, it was a huge accomplishment to have a movie with most of the cast being African American and the director and writers also being African American. The portrayal of people of color and the LGBTQ community is important because they are not often represented in society. They are often overlooked for jobs unless they are being typecasted. Seeing yourself in books, movies, and television shows give people inspiration to do something they believe in because if they can do it anyone can.
    I can understand them wanting to help Gideon find Harriet and her family because money is a huge motivator. They needed to take care of themselves and probably their own families and $200 could go a long way for them. It was hard to make money as a black person in America at the time even if you were in the North it was a struggle to make money and this was an opportunity for them. There was always the looming shadow of slavery on black people free or enslaved.

  8. Emma Schardt

    The Harriet Tubman movie was very attention grabbing and interesting. I think that one of the main ideas portrayed throughout the movie was the idea of family. Harriet and her family had a very close connection and bond. When Harriet had informed Mr. Brodess that she had hired a lawyer to fight for her freedom, her family stood behind her and supported her. However the Brodess family had multiple disagreements, even after the dad had died. Not only did the family members have different viewpoints on many things but they also had no indication of compromising in any way. Harriet was close with not only her parents but also her siblings. I could see how much she valued the bond she had with her family because shortly after her arrival in Philadelphia she made efforts to get in contact with her husband and she mentioned many times how she was lonely without her husband and family and she didn’t want to be free without them and knowing her mom and sisters weren’t free. She also visited her dad every time she came back to help rescue more slaves. Harriet was definitely a hero for countless people. I don’t know that I would describe Harriet as a feminist. Although she advocated for the equality among sexes the movie didn’t portray her as focusing on only women when it came to equality. Harriet was a very brave and independent woman. This can be seen in the scene where William Still doesn’t want her going back. She takes her destiny into her own hands and once again puts her faith in God and goes back to rescue part of her family and a few others. Throughout the multiple times we see her going back to Maryland and once again trekking through the woods in direction of Philadelphia it is very noticeable the value she put on rescuing other slaves and giving them the same journey and the opportunity of living the life she was. I do think that having Kasi Lemmons, a black woman, as the writer and director of this film was very important. I think that having the story being told my a woman of color make the story more meaningful and real than if it was written and directed by someone else. This also ties to the controversial issue from 20 years ago which was recently brought to the attention of the people again. When the movie was in the making, Julia Roberts, a white woman, had auditioned for the role of Harriet. I think this was a problem especially because race is such a vital part of the story of Harriet Tubman and of the biggest issues in the society then and even today. Having a white woman play the role of a black woman who played such a significant role in the history of America takes away the importance of the story. I think that in these last 20 years Hollywood has changed significantly, especially because society has changed so much. I think it is important for people of color and LGBTQ folks to see themselves accurately portrayed in the media because the hardships they face also impact how they live their life and are greatly influenced by society. Media is one of the greatest ways and most influential ways people tell their stories and journeys. Therefore, I see it as a problem having people who aren’t apart of these groups playing these roles in movies because they are spreading the wrong messages, or not even spreading the message at all. Due to Harriet playing such a great role in American history, I think it was only right to have a woman of color play her role and show the true hardship Harriet faced and the life she lived. In the movie, we also saw the importance of money among not only people of color but also whites. The two free black men who helped Gideon to try and find Harriet and her family show how money and wealth were a symbol of status. During that time period, people of color laid great value on wealth and often enough it meant owning slaves as well because they themselves were affected by the issue of slavery. Given the time period of the movie and story, $200 were hard to pass up and lose especially because they had their families and themselves to care for. This movie addressed many important issues from the past and many that still exist today and presented such a moving story very well.

  9. Charles Hudson

    1. Family is a very important element to the movie Harriet. Harriet and her family have a strong connection in the film, which I think is largely due to the shared struggles with enslavement, being beaten, and being treated as less than human. Harriet came back for her family to free them once she had the resources to help, showing that even after being separated from her family for over a year, she still was willing to risk death to bring them to freedom, which is a testament to the strength of the family, even during hard times. This strong connection with each other is very different to the connection that the Brodess family has. The Brodess family had a weak bond in the film, and were shown as a family that really only cared about money. When Edward, the father of Gideon died, the family seemed more concerned about what his death would mean for the family’s wealth, since Edward had outstanding debts. The frequent arguing and lack of affection shows a family unit that isn’t based on love, but rather it is based on wealth, and once that wealth started to disappear, the family started to decay.

    2. I think that Harriet Tubman is a hero in the film, but not necessarily a feminist one. Harriet overcame many obstacles, and as a woman during that time period it is impressive, but the struggle wasn’t one against any kind of male oppression. It was against the entire institution of slavery, which included women. This assault on an objectively evil system is very heroic, but I don’t see how this can be considered to be a feminist struggle, since the institution of slavery wasn’t solely run by men. I also don’t think that the writer made Harriet seem like a feminist during the film. From watching the movie, the portrayal of Harriet doesn’t seem to be very influenced by any bias the writer may have had, and I think that Harriet was portrayed fairly.

    4. I thought the portrayal of Bigger Long and Walter was very interesting, as it showed the existence of black slave trackers who were willing to ruin the lives of slaves on the run, for no other reason than increasing their personal wealth. I think that this shows how powerful money can be on people who are otherwise poor, as it was able to make several free blacks do the immoral task of tracking and capturing slaves for their masters. The portrayal also shows how the institution of slavery was able to corrupt people who didn’t even own slaves. I think the inclusion of these black slave trackers was very important to showing the immoral environment that was created by the institution of slavery.

  10. Hope Sherwood

    Over the break I saw Harriet, it was a very moving film that made me appreciate what Harriet Tubman did for the future of our country. I left the movie feeling very empowered and inspired by her strength and perseverance. In the beginning of the film, we see Harriet beg for her freedom to begin a new family with her husband, when she gets denied of this privilege her mom stands up to her master Edward Brodess. This would be a very brave and dangerous act because the mother could easily get punished very harshly for this, but here is one example where we see the value of family between the Tubmans. Also, once Harriet was a free woman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for about a year. She felt that being free was nearly pointless, if she couldn’t be with her family. So, she had she traveled all the way back to her plantation and rescued her family, in which she obtained all the risks of being caught and becoming a slave again, just so she could have the people she valued the most with her. This strong connection Harriet had with her family can be compared to the very weak connection the Broddes family had with each other. They had no sense of protecting each other and they were more living just to make money and uphold a good reputation. Harriet throughout the movie was completly protrayed as a feminist hero, abd I believe rightfully so. This is because when Harriet was added to the Underground Railroad they highlighted that she was the first female slave to become free and make many hard, and dangerous journeys to free many other slaves. Multiple times she selflessly risked her own life (even when others like William Still didn’t believe she would be successful) to save others, I believe that is the definition of hero. Considering that the writer and director of the film was a black woman, I think the portrayal of Harriet could’ve been affected, but only so much because the facts of what Harriet did, like freeing so many slaves, would proove her to be a feminist hero, no matter the influenced portrayal. I thought the portrayal of Bigger Long and Walter was relevant to the plot because it gave an unexpected enemy, because if they were both free black men you would expect the to help Harriet and help other black slaves to become free, but they did the opposite. This also made the movie even more realistic than it already was because there were free balck slaves, doing the jobs of what Walter and Long did during this time. They did this becasue of the money involved and some people put money value over the cruelty of slavery even if they were the same race as the slaves. This shows that some people are often driven by money and sucsess rather than a greater cause like the liberty of people. This was shown by the actions of both Bigger Long and Walter.

  11. Kate VanderWeele

    The power and their connections to Harriet was a central theme in throughout the movie. One of the scenes at the beginning was Harriet and her husband, John, talking to the slave owner, Mr. Brodess, about gaining her freedom so that their children could be born free. Mr. Brodess is enraged and says that he owns Harriet, her mother, and siblings, and will own her children. Harriet’s family is a lot more close than the Brodess family. All of Harriet’s family was there with her when she asked for her freedom. Comparing the Brodess family, I think that they are money driven and they are not even close to each other. If you look at the time period, money and social class were factors in marriage. When Mr. Brodess died, all the family did was worry about how to pay off all the debts. They lacked a genuine family connection, it was implied that Gideon has a strained relationship with his parents. Harriet’s connection to her family motivated her to go back to the South and led them to freedom. She tried to come back to Get John but he took another wife, so she led most of her siblings back, and then her other sister and her children, and her parents. Harriet went back and risked her life many times, so her family could experience free lives in the North.

    I think that Harriet was portrayed more as a champion for civil rights than a feminist hero, but the movie did portray her as both. For example, when William Still tried to stop Harriet from going back South to rescue her family because he thought it was too dangerous for anyone, let alone a woman, to make the trip. However when Harriet comes back with all nine of her family members, he makes her a conductor on the Underground Railroad. It also says in the film that Harriet is one of the few women to lead a military operation.

    I think the portrayal of free blacks who worked with slave owners and catchers was accurate. I think that free blacks were slave catchers because they couldn’t resist the money, and probably didn’t know how bad slavery is because they were born free. The institution of slavery was everything in the South, the entire economy depended on it. Free blacks in the South had no job opportunities, but slave catching could make them a lot of money.

  12. Erin Parker

    In the film, Harriet and her family seem to share a strong, intimate relationship. Being slaves, and knowing that your family could be separated at any moment, probably helped strengthen it even more. The slave owners, the Brodress family, differed from Harriet’s family in the sense that they didn’t value family as much if they were so willing to sell others. They treated slaves as their property. When you are deliberately dehumanizing people, (the whole establishment of slavery being dehumanizing), internally there is something telling you it is okay. How can a person maintain a genuine relationship with your family, when you’re breaking apart others.
    Harriet was certainly portrayed as a feminist hero in the film. Everything she did from helping free her family, to constantly returning to free more slaves even though the stakes were so high, to leading a battle in the Civil War, that freed even more slaves, as a women, as a runaway slave, and as a women of color might even qualify her to a title even higher than a feminist hero. There was a particular scene in the movie where they showed her coming in the door with 10-12 new slaves every time she left. It was a comedic moment, and also a very strong, important moment, just to witness how many slaves she was able to save on a consistent basis. The director of the film, Kasi Lemmons, being a black woman herself, probably found it extremely important to include that particular scene in there. Watching that myself, it truly amazed how persistent, and brave she was. That scene and many others in the film, basically confirmed what I already knew to be true, Harriet Tubman was a badass feminist hero!
    Hearing that Julia Roberts was suggested to play Harriet Tubman is one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard. I don’t know in what world that is okay because I believe we’ve come too far for something like that to even be said. I know if something like that were to happen today, or even 20 years ago, there would be major backlash from people of every background saying it was not tolerable. I think Hollywood has changed because there are more black actors and actresses on film. And with the increasing number of black people on film, many are suggested to play roles portraying black figures from long ago. Today, people of color and LGBTQ people need to see themselves accurately portrayed mostly to boost their confidence in themselves, and to have role models they can look up to on film.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *