Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, But now I’m found. Was blind, But now I see.
England, 1791. William Wilberforce speaks in front the House of Commons and introduces the very first parliamentary bill to abolish the slave trade. It’s a shocking new move in a society where slavery was not necessarily seen as bad, and many made major profit from the sale of African people throughout the British Empire. The bill was defeated 88 votes in favor to 163 against.
William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833) was an English politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to eradicate the slave trade. In 1785 he converted to Christianity, a major event in his overview of life, which resulted in a lifelong concern to reform society. He is most known for is his role as one of the leaders of the slavery abolition movement, fighting for the approbation of the Slave Trade Act of 1807 and the definitive emancipation of all slaves in the British Empire.
He dedicated his life and health to that cause. After the rejection of the first bill, many other attempts were followed, but continued to be unsuccessful.
Despite having all the odds against him, he stood still. With the help of many others anti-slavery advocates, like Thomas Clarkson, and a change of tactics, they managed to gain the pulse to the pro-slavery. Finally, on 23rd February 1807, the bill was passed by 283 votes to 16 (one of the most emotional and inspiring scenes in the movie).
His brave testimony has been portrayed in several books and the movie Amazing Grace, named after the heart-touching hymn written by John Newton, a former crewman on a slave ship converted to Christianity. The movie was released in 2007 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Parliament’s anti-slave trade legislation.
With this kind of story, you know the movie is going to be good. Well directed, acting on fleek (we have mister Benedict Cumberbacht in the cast) and a very good portrayal of the times the abolitionists had to face. Very useful to take a glimpse at the historical reality of those centuries and to help us understand the mentality of that age.
Some may argue it is very low paced. But come on! It’s a politics movie set in the XVIII and XIX centuries. What did you expect? It’s certainly not action packed, but I personally enjoyed every second of it. The story is so immersive, mister Willberforce is so inspiring, and the music…oh, the music! each time Amazing Grace is played, prepare to get as many goosebumps as it’s possible. It’s the perfect song for the movie.
Highly recommended for those History lovers, activists all around the glove, and literally everybody that enjoys seeing good people achieving good things. May we have the courage and determination of the abolitionists to help eradicate all the injustice remaining in our times.