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Chicago Urban League Youth Pens Blog on first Screening at Black Film Fest

CUL Youth Blogger’s Review of Slavery By Another Name 

Slavery By Another Name tells the stories of men, charged with hate crimes such as vagrancy, and often guilty of nothing. They were then bought, sold, abused, and subject to sometimes deadly working conditions as unpaid convict labor. Southern blacks were not merely abused, politically deprived or inconvenienced, as history has taught most of us. They were enslaved into forced labor. Some historians and researchers have inadvertently minimized this reality, partly by analysis that failed to see the connection between forms of neo slavery.

I can recall sitting in history classes throughout the years attempting to absorb knowledge of my history. It would prove to be unsuccessful when information had multiple explanations. Was the truth somewhere hidden between the lines or was it a weak attempt to condition our minds with their made up stories? This immense system of forced, unpaid labor was a shocking reality that has often gone unacknowledged.

I found the film, which gave a powerful examination of our history, grueling to sit through because I realized how there are still systems in place that are designed for our hardship and labor. I am grateful that this horror is getting examined in-depth because many people live in the dark and unknowing of their history. In order to understand your present you must understand your past. I recommend that everyone view this film so that can we have a better understanding of what we have endured and what we have survived.

Christina Comer, great-great-granddaughter of Alabama governor B.B. Comer, who learned that her family members were active participants in the brutal system, commented that, “The story is important no matter how painful the reality is.”

Slavery is not a distant memory, and we have yet to reach freedom.

-Diana Bender is a senior at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep High School and active participant in CUL’s Center for Student Develop programs