Paul R. Hollrah
Amazing Grace: The American Sequel
of the finest film productions in recent years has been the British
film, Amazing Grace, the story of how William Wilberforce, a
young idealist in the British Parliament during the late eighteenth and
early nineteenth centuries, waged a decades-long struggle to bring an
end to the slave trade in the British Empire.
I can well
remember the end of the movie. As the screen went dark and the credits
began to roll, no one moved... everyone in the theater sat quietly as if
glued to their seats. And then, as the house lights came on and
moviegoers began to usher silently from the theater, I’m sure that most
white moviegoers felt the same overwhelming sense of sadness that I
felt. One can only imagine what black moviegoers must have felt.
William Wilberforce was first elected to Parliament in September 1780,
at the age of twenty-one, and quickly earned a reputation as a reformer.
In 1783, he
was introduced to a former ship’s surgeon, The Rev. James Ramsay, who
had observed firsthand the living conditions of slaves, both aboard ship
and on the plantations of St. Kitts, in the Caribbean.
Deeply moved by
what he heard, it spelled the beginning of what was to become the
central purpose of Wilberforce’s life for the next fifty years.
Wilberforce became the champion of the anti-slavery cause and the
anti-slavery movement had what it needed most, a strong and relentless
voice in Parliament.
The years that
followed were a mixture of success and failure. Bills to reduce
overcrowding on slave ships were passed. A "toothless” compromise
calling for "gradual abolition” passed in 1792. A bill to outlaw the use
of British ships in the slave trade failed in 1794. A bill to prohibit
British subjects from aiding or abetting the slave trade to the French
colonies passed in 1806. Bills designed to outright abolish the slave
trade failed numerous times over a forty year period.
finally, on July 26, 1833, just three days before Wilberforce’s death, a
bill to abolish slavery was passed by Parliament. His fifty year
struggle to end slavery in the British Empire was won posthumously.
if it is true that confession is food for the soul, the British people
have now publicly made their confession. What remains now is for
Americans to make the same cathartic confession, telling the powerful
story of slavery and emancipation in our own country. Unfortunately,
while it is a story that demands to be told, it is a story that
Hollywood filmmakers will likely ignore because it would be entirely too
damaging, perhaps even fatal, to the Democratic Party. For example:
was Democrats, northern and southern, who insisted that slaves be
counted as just three- fifths of a person... a device designed to
increase the congressional representation of the slave states, while
maintaining the fiction that a black man was something less than a white
was Democrats, northern and southern, who enacted the Fugitive Slave
Laws of 1793 and 1854 and who gave new life to the pro-slavery movement
with the enactment of the Missouri Compromise and the Kansas-Nebraska
was Democrats, northern and southern, who opposed the ratification of
the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, outlawing slavery and giving blacks
full citizenship and voting rights.
was Democrats, northern and southern, who opposed passage of the Civil
Rights Acts of 1866 and 1875.
was Democrats, northern and southern, who embraced the Ku Klux Klan as
the party’s own paramilitary arm, achieving through terror, arson, and
murder, that which they could no longer achieve within the law.
was Democrats who enacted Black Codes, denying African Americans the
same rights and privileges afforded to whites, and it was Democrats who
enacted the Jim Crow laws, restricting the use of public accommodations
was not until the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson in the 1960s, when
Democrats began to see African Americans as a potentially valuable
voting bloc, that the party embraced equality in education and job
opportunities for blacks.
of these things are part of our history, but if one were to ask the
average black man-on-the-street to recite a credible history of the
black man in America, few would be able to do so.
Whatever black history is taught in our public schools and on our
college campuses is a fraud. It is written by and taught by individuals
with a left wing agenda who fully understand the value of the black vote
and who value political success at the polls above all else. They
understand that, if African Americans were to vote in roughly the same
proportions as the rest of the population (53-47 percent for Democrats
over Republicans, or vice versa), Democratic strength in the U.S.
Congress and the state legislatures would be reduced by half, or more,
and the election of a Democratic president would be next to impossible.
far better to simply deny the truth to black people, young and old
truth is truth and it cannot be suppressed forever, no matter whose ox
is being gored. Let us hope that, with the election of Barack Obama as
President of the United States, we have arrived at a point in history
where we can actually begin to tell the truth about ourselves... painful
as it may be. If Mel Gibson had the courage to produce and film The
Passion of the Christ, perhaps there is also someone in Hollywood
with the courage to produce a film titled, Amazing Grace – The