A Student of History

March 12, 2007

Can Movies Do More than Deliver a Message?

Filed under: What is History? — John Maass @ 9:29 pm

Cool piece from National Review a week or so ago from Rebecca Cusey, about movies and history:

In the 1700s, when a small band of English activists founded an audacious campaign to end slavery, a pottery maker named Josiah Wedgewood created a round medallion designed to hang on the wall. Showing a shackled slave kneeling, pleading, “Am I not a man and a brother?” The Wedgewood medallion became the symbol of the abolitionist cause and a tool to turn hearts and minds toward the plight of the slave. Later, another abolitionist, Harriet Beecher Stowe, wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an abolitionist book that President Lincoln famously credited with starting the Civil War. When a piece of art taps into a groundswell of moral passion, it has an ability far greater than words to spark a movement. Today we are much more likely to be moved by music and moving pictures, whether on the small screen, computer screen, or movie screen, than by literature, to say nothing of pottery. Does this medium have the ability to alter history? Can a movie become a movement?

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