Personally, I’ve always found it puzzling when people denounce slave stories. Though black and brown faces are too often confined solely to films about slavery and enslavement, I still don’t relish the complete eraser of these tales. After all, this pivotal time in history has shaped not only our people, but our country as well. However, Black people do need to take on these stories ourselves. It should not be left up to the Hollywood establishment to present the history of our people on screen. It’s past time for us to take the reigns. With Nate Parker’s unprecedented success with his film “Birth Of A Nation” at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and now with WGN America’s striking television series “Underground”, it seems that we are finally moving in that direction.
Last fall, I got the opportunity to screen the pilot episode of “Underground” in Memphis, Tennessee at the Civil Right’s Museum. However, I could reveal little about the series at the time. However, now that “Underground” finally set to air on WGN America, and after screening the first four episodes, I’m thrilled to share just a bit more about it.
If you’ve studied slavery at all, then you know just how detailed and intricate the Plantation South was during the antebellum period. “Underground” is set in Georgia in 1857, just a few years prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, and several years after the Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act were passed. These two pieces of legislation made the lives of runways and free Black people even more difficult. The series excels in not just displaying the intricacies of a vast cotton plantation, but also in presenting every character that lived within the confines of the land; each individual having their own role to play and path to follow. Helmed by creators and executive producers Misha Green (“Sons of Anarchy’) and Joe Pokaski (“Heroes”), and executive produced by John Legend and director Anthony Hemingway, “Underground“ is so much more than a slave story, it’s a masterful thriller about the underground railroad and the heroic men and women who would do anything to gain their freedom.
Continue reading at Shadow and Act.
Image: Underground/WGN America