New Film Honors the Life of Harriet Tubman

By Stacy M. Brown

When one speaks of freedom fighters, Harriet Tubman’s name should always be among the first – if not highlighted as a primary justice crusader.

For it was on this date 169 years ago – Dec. 6, 1849 – that Tubman escaped slavery.

The brave African-American who became known as the “Moses” of her people, didn’t stop with her own freedom but went back – repeatedly – to help others and over the course of a decade, led countless slaves along the Underground Railroad so that they too could taste freedom.

Tubman became a leader in the abolitionist movement, and during the Civil War she served as a nurse and spy for the federal forces. last week, a film – slated for a 2019 release — wrapped that will highlight the life of Tubman, who was born into slavery.

The cast of the film titled, “Harriet,” includes Tony and Grammy Award Winner Cynthia Erivo, who plays Harriet Tubman. Tony and Grammy Winner Leslie Odum, Jr., along with Singer-Songwriter Janelle Monae, portray characters in the film. Gregory Allen Howard crafted the story and will produce the film along alongside Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Debra Martin Chase

As noted in a television broadcast on WTVR in Virginia, the story of the abolitionist, who died in June 1913, has been told in academic textbooks, television series, and even YouTube history segments, but her story has never been told in an exclusive feature-length project.

Virginia Commonwealth University African-American Studies Professor Dr. Chioke I’Anson told WTVR that it’s absurd no feature film has previously been made.

“There is a growing tide of Black representation on television and in movies,” I’Anson said. “Old myths about the unprofitability of Black-led films are slowly falling away. Maybe a film about Harriet Tubman, one of the greatest heroes of Black history, isn’t getting here too late.”
“Maybe it’s right on time,” he added.

Said George Mason University NAACP President Diyonah Contee, “If the story is portrayed accurately, viewers will learn more about the harsh conditions of slavery and gain an understanding of the strength and courage needed to do what Harriet did.”

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