Inspiration of the Week #62

February 11, 2013 through February 17, 2013

Abolition and Emancipation

This week as we recognize the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday it is important we praise his role in advancing civil rights by helping to abolish slavery. However, it is foolish to think that he did so single handily on his own accord. Just as it is with any social movement or cause, they require years of people working together in solidarity. With progress being made incrementally through a body of work created by the many but initiated by a few. PBS’s American Experience documentary “The Abolitionist” does a tremendous job of shedding light on the effort put forth by many of those involved in passing the 13th Amendment of the Constitution during the time of Lincoln. As it is highlighted in the film, the president himself remarked that he had been “only an instrument in the anti-slavery struggle,” and that “the logic and moral power of (William Lloyd) Garrison and the anti-slavery people had done it all.” You can watch the full video below.

History teaches us many lessons as we strive towards progress. Numerous parallels can be drawn from today’s society to any point in time of history because it is human nature that rarely changes. As it is commonly remarked “history repeats itself,” but I would expand on the idea by pointing out that human behaviors are being repeated, just under different sets of circumstances. Fortunately, for those of us who heed the instructions of past experience, we know that there are also many enduring solutions to the struggles of evolution. For instance, to be a catalyst for change it is important to always remain optimistic, in-order to combat the obstinate nature of ignorance. As you will see in this documentary, it required the fearless actions of a few leaders to unite the masses and galvanize the Abolitionist movement. It was their unwavering belief in equality that allowed them to uproot the institution of slavery, which at that time was so ingrained in society its elimination seemed impossible.

Watch The Abolitionists Extended Preview on PBS. See more from American Experience.


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