Monday, April 22, 2013

Amazing Grace Connection (& not forgetting Earth Day)

Until I recently watched a DVD of the 2006 film Amazing Grace about William Wilberforce's long struggle to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire, I had no idea that the song Amazing Grace had connection to his story. It does - though in real life probably a tenuous one and not nearly as directly as the movie implies. Still, the dramatic license involved helps the movie along nicely. It's a very good movie, well acted and well directed by Michael Apted who was also director of the wonderful "Up" series ( post on that series is HERE).

My post about William Wilberforce, from last year, around the time the movie Lincoln was released is at Lincoln, William Wilberforce & Abolition of Slavery. A commenter then reminded me about Amazing Grace, the biographical movie on Wilberforce, who was born in the same East coast English city port as I was, and was Member of Parliament for Yorkshire in the late 18th early 19th centuries.

Words of Amazing Grace, the song/hymn were written by John Newton, English seaman turned slave ship captain, turned poet, turned clergyman. As a seaman in the 18th century he was involved in the Atlantic slave trade, he had captained slave ships. After almost drowning in a storm at sea Newton became a devout Christian, but continued being a part of slave trading for years afterwards. Inferences in the movie Amazing Grace that the poem from which the song Amazing Grace sprang was written as a direct result of Newton "seeing the light" and repenting his connection to the slave trade are a wee bit skewed. The hymn was written around 1772, but Newton didn't begin to regret his part in the horrendously ugly slave trade until 1780 and didn't begin to speak out and fight for its abolition until 1785. (See Snopes entry HERE)

Movie trailer:

I'm a longtime fan of Il Divo - here's their version of the song/hymn:

AND....not forgetting that today is Earth Day

 Written by Joe Miller for a children's book illustrated by  Wilson McLean

I found this on a notice board on one of our trips, cannot recall where exactly, it was around 7 years ago. I'd saved it, came across it again when looking through a back-up disc from my old computer. Apt for Earth day, is it not?

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