I picked up the film Amazing Grace tonight. My husband had already seen this film on the life of William Wilberforce, but I knew nothing about it. In fact, I knew little about William Wilberforce at all, other than that he had fought to abolish the slave trade. I highly recommend this movie as an introduction to his life. Ever since we watched the Horatio Hornblower series, my husband and I have been fans of Ioan Gruffodd, and he does an excellent job playing Wilberforce. Many other well-known British faces appear in this film, and the acting and writing are really fantastic. Even if they weren't, the strength of Wilberforce's character is so engaging that you can't help but be drawn into the film.
If you had a better education than I, you probably know more about Wilberforce than I did before watching this film. His story is one that should not be lost, and it is one that we can learn a lot from today. When I think of the causes that seem hopeless in this world, of the horrors in Sudan, of the children who work in slavery, of all of the injustice that exists in the world, I feel that there is nothing that I can do. In truth, we live in a world where instant gratification is the expectation, and we give up quickly if we don't see instant results. Wilberforce, in contrast, fought for his entire life to abolish slavery. His bill was rejected multiple times. He suffered ill health and spent his youth for the cause of justice. For whatever cause that we may seek justice, we can learn from the perseverance of William Wilberforce and his friends, from his willingness to get his hands dirty and to be in the world of politics in order to change things for the better.
Slavery did not end when Wilberforce's bill passed or when the Civil War ended; it exists in this world today. Injustice exists in our country and abroad. The basic humanity of many is discarded. There is much we can learn from our past. I will be reading more about Wilberforce, and you can be sure that my boys will learn about him and see this film.
Bonus points if you know the reference for the title of this post...