When we got this movie I thought it was a western with a woman heroine, like most of the movies today, that seek to replace the notion of male leadership with a maternal hegemony. When I saw that it was about Harriet Tubman, I wasn’t sure whether I could endure another suggestion that it is 1962, or worse 1862, in America and all white people are inherently racist and essentially equivalent to slave owners. Nevertheless, it was purportedly based on historic facts and that is usually better than fiction, so I gave it a chance.
I knew about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, but what I didn’t know was the underlying theme of this movie. The movie is rated 6.5 on IMDB which is lower than I would rate it. The one review they posted was vague in its criticism of lead actors, but I do not believe Hollywood will give a fair rating to any movie that accurately and positively portrays Christian virtue. It is a fact that before and during the Civil War there was a national revival of Christian faith. This movie depicts and credits God’s providence, intervention, and answer to prayer as an integral part of the motivation, success, and purpose behind Harriet Tubman’s heroism, bravery, courage and guiding purpose.
The black ethnicity has a marvelous history of Christian foundation and faith. Even today, amidst the crime, corruption and violence so often highlighted in the media regarding the so called black community, it is the Church that anchors and sustains virtuous endeavor, hope, and success, in any ethnic category. In my experience, even those who are not devoted in the Christian lifestyle, among my black friends and acquaintances there is an acknowledgment of the foundations of faith, the Bible, Creator God, and Jesus Christ because these truths are rooted in generations of ancestors who experienced and shared the evidence for their faith to the next generations. A personal testimony of God’s faithfulness during difficulties or in the face of injustice is more powerful and enduring than mere words.
When I first read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, at the recommendation of my pastor, I knew it was about slavery and had tremendous influence upon the Civil War. What I was surprised to discover is that this book is a testimony to the virtue of Christian principles, practice and faith. Rather than Uncle Tom being a symbol of cowardice and subservience, as the world has labeled him; this character is an image of Jesus, whose kingdom was not of this world and whose message and life changed history. No one, even across the deep South, thinks slavery or racism is good; slavery was eliminated in 1865, (via civil war), racism was eliminated in 1964, (via legislation and court precedent). Martin Luther King Jr. was a devout Christian minister who prevailed through the practice of Christian faith and virtue. Perhaps it is time for a renewal of Christian faith and virtue to awaken those who do not understand that the year is 2020.