*Award-winning author James McBride’s novel “The Good Lord Bird” has been adapted into a limited series on Showtime.
The series and book are based on actual events that took place during slavery and focus on the abolitionists’ movement. It tells the story of abolitionist John Brown, a white man, who literally fought for the freedom of slaves. John Brown who is played by Ethan Hawke (“Training Day”) would try to free slaves from their masters by any means necessary, which often meant killing them. His efforts led him to take over the United States Arsenal at Harpers Ferry. An event in history that many are unaware of. The history that we are taught would have you to believe abolitionists only assisted with the underground railroad. That isn’t the case, most got their hands dirty and put their own lives on the line.
We sat down with James McBride to ask him what inspired him to write this book.
“I was in a historical society and I saw a diary by a Jewish merchant. He had a line, John Brown attacks Harper’s Ferry, and there was a two-page narrative about what he read about the events,” says McBride.
After reading that entry in that diary, McBride became fascinated with John Brown’s story. The book and the series depict a raw and honest version of the events that led up to the attack on Harpers Ferry. Now that there are more African Americans involved in film and TV we are starting to see a different narrative than what has been taught or not taught over the years.
Because of the lack of education, most people think the civil war was the only “war” that occurred during slavery. But, there were many slave revolts that were sometimes initiated by abolitionists like John Brown.
The Showtime series “The Good Love Bird” is a good start to learn about these untold stories. It is written as a satire which makes for a good balance of educating and entertaining.
“The Good Lord Bird” airs on Showtime Sunday, October 4.