Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound, That Set a People Free

While writing my recent post about Martin Luther King, I was considering doing a series on the Good Caused by Religion. Possible topics included Harriet Beecher Stowe or William Lloyd Garrison. But my most likely next blog in the series would have been about William Wilberforce, who may have done more than any other man to end slavery in the West. But it appears that Bristol Bay Productions may have saved me the trouble. They are releasing Amazing Grace on February 23, 2007, a film about Wilberforce and his abolotionist activities, which resulted first in the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire in 1807, and culminated in the freeing of all slaves in the British Empire one month after Wilberforce's death in 1833.

The title is from the song, Amazing Grace, which was written by John Newton. Newton was a slave trader for much of his life, but eventually left the trade, became a minister and an abolitionist. Newton's sermons were a source of inspiration to Wilberforce and encouraged him in his abolitionist efforts. Indeed, Newton may have been responsible for convincing Wilberforce to stay in politics rather than enter the ministry.

The movie stars Ion Gruffudd (who I enjoyed very much in the Horatio Hornblower series) as William Wilberforce. You can see the rather lengthy trailer, here.

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