After viewing Sankofa, do you think the movie offers an accurate portrayal of slavery in the Americas?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Gerima's film offers an accurate portrayal of the slave condition.  The purpose of the film is to instigate thinking about slavery and how it was the Holocaust for Africans.  The opening statement of the film in "Spirit of the dead, rise up and claim your story," is reflective of how slavery is shown in the film.  The struggles that the slaves have within their own identities is what helps to make the film so accurate in its portrayal.  There were instances in which slave rose up and sought to rebel against their condition, as Shango does in the film.  The notion of identity is something that also impacted the reality of slavery.  Nunu struggles with this in seeking to embrace his son, who is half- white.  From an emotional point of view, the film depicts how slavery causes a great deal of challenge and struggle with identity issues. 

Finally, I think that the role asserting voice through shared solidarity is an integral part of the slave condition that the film invokes.  Historically, the study of slavery reveals this.  The slave spiritual, the presence of the slave communities, and the idea that while in captivity, a sense of solidarity is displayed are representatives of how this is seen historically.  In displaying the characters fighting back against slavery, the film echoes this historical element in its depiction.