On her blog entry about the movie Amazing Grace and its echoes on the press, The Nation‘s editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel touches the disturbing (and hurting) story of slavery and the struggle of abolitionists. Do you believe slavery is the shame and bleeding wound of the 19th century and today it only lives in history books? If so, then come to think of it again. Heuvel provides thrilling statistics in her editorial:

clipped from www.thenation.com

There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today and at least 10,000 in the United States–144 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 200 years after Britain ended its participation in the slave trade. In contrast, there were approximately 15 million people enslaved during 150 years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

“Anything that brings awareness to slavery in history of the present is positive,” says Eric Foner, the leading historian on post-Civil War reconstruction. “If people fighting slavery today identify with the abolitionists, that’s good.”

There is little doubt that this film will have some of the common pitfalls of any Hollywood biopic. Indeed, reviews in the New York Times and Washington Post have called it “prettified”, “an imperfect look at an imperfect soul”, and “earnest to a fault.” But reviewers have also noted the compelling political, moral, and educational aspects of the film, as well as some brilliant performances by great British actors.

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