Thursday 11 January 2024

               Films and Books that may be helpful to Week Two

This eight-part CBC series that can be seen on Gem or Googled is a good overview of topics about Canadian Blacks that may not be familar to most viewers. Part One explores the history of slavery in French and English Canada 

An excellent four-part documentary on Lincoln that gives a large billing to Frederick Douglass but at this point the series can only be seen on Apple TV

Possibly the most realistic and powerful motion picture on slavery, sometimes painful to watch but full of striking insights. The film is available on DVD in the public library system.

Based on a true story about a revolt on a slave trip, Amistad is also
at times a difficult film to watch at times but the scenes on the ship are visceral, more compelling than the trial that follows. The film features two memorable performances. You will know who they are if you see this 1997 film available on DVD.

This 1990 film is the first motion picture to celebrate the Black military participation during the Civil War.

   The Underground Railway (2021) now only available on Amazon
is based on the terrific 2016 novel of the same name by Colson  Whitehead. Director Barry Jenkins masterful ten-part adaptation
   is well worth watching for how he replicates and alters the novel. 

Harriet  is a powerful film that celebrates the accomplishments of the most important conductor of the underground railroad.

Two PBS documentaries available in the public library system well worth watching are Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom and Becoming Frederick Douglass.

Henry Louis Gates' The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song on PBS is a four-part series that explore the history and culture of the American Black Church. The series is available through the public library system. 

A good four-part overview of the history of slavery that is available in the public library system and some of it can be seen online. 

Set during the 17th century, A Mercy explores why an enslaved woman might ask a stranger to take possession of her daughter and the generational repercusions of that decision.  A powerful and insightful novel about the early period of slavery.


Two wonderful novels by Geraldine Brooks, the first imagines the life of the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's, Little Women, whose idealism is shattered during the Civil War, and the second toggles between 1850s Kentucky in which an enslaved young groom trains the greatest race horse of the 19th century and 2019 Washington D.C. in which a young Black academic finds a discarded painting of a Black groom and a horse. Brooks reveals the continuities between the forms of racism displayed during slavery and how they are expressed in the present. 


Regarded by the New York Times as one of the ten best books of 2023, Master Slave Husband Wife chronicles the extraordinary 
    escape of an enslaved husband and wife from Georgia to Nova         Scotia to Britain as the light-skinned wife poses as the master over     her darker skinned husband. This is a scholarly book that could          become a film adaptation.  

During the Civil War, Confederate agents used Montreal as a base to concoct plots, including an operation of biological warfare, against the Union government and Northerners. Canada after the Civil War became a haven for fugitive Confederates, including Jefferson Davis, who were welcomed by the most of the media and financial elites. These are only two of the compelling stories narrated by Julian Sher  about the role of Canada during the War and how Canadians supported both sides in his highly readable account.

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