Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Amazing Grace: the story of the anti-slavery movement

If you are American, British, Scottish or were influenced by the civil rights movement in the United States, you are probably familiar with the song Amazing Grace. Most people in the United States equate it with an old negro spiritual or gospel song that became the anthem of the civil rights movement in the 1960's. What few know is that it originated in England, was written by John Newton, a converted slave-trader turned minister, and was the anthem of the anti-slavery movement in Great Britain before it was adopted by the Americans.

While it was the British who started the slave-trade from Africa, they were also the first to see the inhumanity of what they were doing and stop it. The tireless leaders of this movement were a pair of friends - William Wilberforce and William Pitt (who was the youngest Prime Minister of England at one point). Pitt unfortunately never got to see the fruits of his labor; he died before the anti-slavery legislation passed.

I recently saw a brilliant film outlining this amazing story, aptly titled Amazing Grace. View the trailer here and below. HIGHLY recommend watching it:

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