Monday, February 26, 2007

Amazing Grace

We saw Amazing Grace on Friday night and we were left in silent wonder.

Harriet Beecher Stowe praised him in the pages of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Novelist E. M. Forester compared him to Gandhi.

Abraham Lincoln invoked his memory in a celebrated speech. In the houses of Parliament,

Nelson Mandela recalled his tireless labors on behalf of the sons and daughters of Africa, calling Britain "the land of William Wilberforce—who dared to stand up to demand that the slaves in our country should be freed."

William Wilberforce (1759-1833) led the twenty-year fight to end the British slave trade, a victory now regarded as He finally succeeded in March 1807 and continued to fight for abolition until, days before his death in 1833, he saw the institution of slavery abolished throughout the British colonies.

Not limiting himself to just abolitionist work, he dedicated his life to what he called his "two great objects:" abolishing slavery in the British Empire and what he called "the reformation of manners [society]."

To this end, he advocated for child labor laws, campaigned for education of the blind and deaf, and founded organizations as diverse as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the National Gallery (of Art).

"Good causes," it has been said, "stuck to him like pins to a magnet." - Wilberforce biographer, Kevin Belmonte.

Let me urge you to see this great movie. I have not been so moved by a movie since I saw the "The Mission" about 20 years ago.


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