Religion in 12 Years a Slave and Selma

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 529 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: May 24, 2022

Words: 529|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: May 24, 2022

Religion has been considered to be a part of Black people’s lives and due to aiming at portrayal of a realistic picture of society in movies, the makers tend to use this feature to appeal to the audience. Many Black cinema movies employ religious practices to exert control over the masses. Audiences who are religious find the plot of the movies quite convincing because of the element of God present throughout which is exactly what the makers aim at. 

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This very tactic is visible to the audience in the movie Selma, where the makers use the power of God to represent issues that are concerned with race, creed and brotherhood. The all-powerful God has been given essential importance in providing the Blacks with forgiveness and pacifism by replacing violent behaviour and treatments. Also, in the movie Within Our Gates, the element of religion is present during the scene where The character Ned gives a sermon in the Church by stating that the Black people would be the first and the last while the white people would fall into an inferno, even after getting all the education and the wealth. He also states that the Blacks have pure heart and therefore, would go straight to heaven unlike the whites. This has been used by the makers to in fact, further the main plot as it was actually a tactic used by Ned in order get back the money that was stolen by someone.

Another movie named 12 Years a slave uses Christianity as both an imagery and a theme. In this movie, it has been shown that the best way to win their own freedom would be the act of praying to God. However, this was only a popular belief and therefore the author in spite of the religious element shows that they still do not receive mercy and their prayers had not in any way facilitated in their freedom. In the movie Daughters of the Dust however, religion has been portrayed in case of the granddaughter of the character Nana, named Viola Peazant who had converted to Christianity and in fact tries to teach her children about the religion and its practices too. However, Christianity has also been shown as a chance of escape for the Blacks from the prejudices and the injustices they face in society.

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Religion has been shown as a tool for social control in the sense that advices have been given to the audience through the characters that thievery is unacceptable by law and by religion and it needs to be demolished if the person thrives to “go to heaven”. In Selma, unacceptable behaviour regarding violence as religion states the need to possess the ability to forgive among the Blacks in order to maintain a social equilibrium. In the movie 12 Years a slave political organizing has been portrayed in the way the main protagonist had become victim of slavery in spite of belonging to a well-to do family because of his colour. This has been shown by makers how political differences were made based on colour during the time and it did not however matter how dark or brown the person was, he would be considered inferior.

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Religion in 12 Years a Slave and Selma. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 28, 2024, from
“Religion in 12 Years a Slave and Selma.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022,
Religion in 12 Years a Slave and Selma. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Feb. 2024].
Religion in 12 Years a Slave and Selma [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 May 24 [cited 2024 Feb 28]. Available from:
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