Wednesday, November 13, 2013


On last Saturday I attended the movie 12 Years as a Slave with my wife Vantoria. I have to admit that I was not prepared for what I saw. This heart wrenching story is the real life account of Solomon Northup, a free black man who lived in Saratoga New York with his wife and children. While his family was away Solomon was approached by two men who offered him a lucrative amount of money to tour with them in a circus. Solomon, an accomplished violinist agreed. The two men drugged Solomon and then sold him as a run away slave in the nation's capital, Washington D.C. Solomon was shipped to New Orleans were he was sold into slavery. Solomon would remain a slave for 12 years until he was rescued and restored to his home and family.
For me 12 Years as a Slave was a devastating story to watch. The terror, outrage and shame in the eyes of the actors who portrayed the slaves were heart wrenching. Women separated from their children caused much grief to rise in me.. Men humiliated and beaten was repulsive. My emotions were deeply stirred and strongly evoked to anger and consternation. I was not sure that I would be able to see the movie to the end but I stayed. I endured it. I experienced it.
I admired Solomon, played by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, for his wisdom and instinct for survival. I wanted to fight for and protect Patsy, played by Lupita Nyong'o. I despised the institution of slavery and the terrible injustice inflicted on the persons who portrayed slaves . I wanted to snatch the Bible from the hands of the slave master who preached slavery and white racial domination in the name of  God, illustrating the devastating stench of religion and its misuse of the pure Word of God that was given to set man free.
I left the movie in tears, not tears of sorrow but tears of joy as I witnessed the rescue and restoration of Solomon. Although this movie started in tragedy it ended in triumph and I celebrate the producers and writers  that brought this story to the movie screen.
Solomon was given a unique charge from God. He was sent into slavery and then brought out of slavery to write his account and share with the nation what millions of Blacks endured. I am not suggesting that God was the reason why Solomon was kidnapped and sold but God used the injustice and tragedy of Solomon's experience to give him a story to tell. Solomon's written and spoken account, for he would speak in many places in this country about his slave experience, was used by God to stir the sentiment of the country against this peculiar institution. Solomon like Joseph was sent into slavery to provide a witness of his life as a slave and what was meant for evil became good as many would be set free in a less than a decade after Solomon's book was written.
Though slavery ended in the nineteenth century the United States still struggle under the stronghold of racism and religion and these strongholds continue to produce hopelessness and separation among the many races in America. Solomon was freed, freedom is available today in Jesus.  Shalom.  


  1. Sounds like an incredibly powerful movie!

  2. As a writer very interested in the history of my people, African Americans, in this country, this story touches everything in my spirit. Good review Pastor Boulton.

  3. I enjoyed your review. Totally my thoughts as well...

    I'm a mother who encouraged my children to watch ROOTS and QUEEN once they hit the 10th or 11th grade in high school. I had them dig through my copies of slave narratives and this one book called the African American Slave Trade from a my African studies course in college.

    It was movies like this one that helped them understand why we would never use the "N" word in our home or as a term of endearment for anyone. I remember the stories my grandmother told, and the things my Father shared about growing up in the south in the 50s and 60s. Their stories were real to me... though I couldn't imagine some of their experiences personally.

    Thank God for those who went before us...

    In th12 Years A Slave, the injustice was presented in raw form -- yet with compelling truth. The testimony of Solomon wasn't a mockery or made a mockery by sexualizing or over exaggerating his story like so many movies have done. The directors maintained the INTEGRITY and esteemed the necessary truth. Before this movie, I had never heard of Solomon or at least don't recall hearing about him. After watching it, all l I could think of was how amazing it was that he gained his freedom. Then I said to myself, Apostle Bernard, you phrased that last line perfectly: Freedom IS available today in Jesus.

    Slavery and the Making of America:

  4. Haven't seen it yet BC of time constraints... but this will definitely be a priority when I finally get a little free time.