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A neighbor suggests that Samuel let his preacher slave visit other plantations and preach them into compliance as a source of income to relieve debt.

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At first Nat complies and preaches submission. But as he sees the suffering of his brothers and sisters, the brutal conditions and starvation, and when his own wife is brutally raped, he ponders more deeply on the word of God. Yes, it tells slaves to obey their masters, even to respect the unjust ones, but the Bible also tells that those who oppress others will be punished. Nat's sermons become more layered and nuanced and the meaning of Matthew "Let those who have ears to hear, hear" becomes evident to the audience of this beautiful film with its haunting music and seemingly futile call to arms.

Slaves hear words of insurrection and deliverance while slave owners hear words that reinforce their comfort and dominance in Nat's impassioned sermons. Nat hears God speaking to him and sees dark wonders in the sky two solar eclipses that he takes as confirmation of his plans. While his grandmother's death gives him courage, his mother, Esther Gabrielle Union , warns him that the Bible also says that he who lives by the sword will die by the sword.

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Any piece of art worth the blood, sweat and tears that went into making it deserves to become the matter of public and private discourse. The story of Nat Turner in "The Birth of a Nation" is heroic and Parker's performance is very good, as are those of the women, especially Union and King.

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Some of the other characters are almost cardboard in nature. Nat is a limited man who uses everything he has to redress the wrongs meted out to him and his brothers and sisters in the only way he knows.

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God is his consolation and strength. The film is worth seeing and talking about because it took more than 30 more years to free the slaves after Nat Turner's insurrection and we are still dealing with the aftermath of slavery today.

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It's good to remember the slaveholder Jefferson's words as we work to walk humbly and live justly: God's justice will not sleep forever. Rose Pacatte, a member of the Daughters of St.

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Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here. Join now. Oct 1, Join the Conversation Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR. Email address. Media 'Birth of a Nation' gives much to discuss. After faith leaders' border visit, the resolve to help migrants grows Sep 27, Australian diocese to pay millions in settlement in one abuse case Sep 27, The story line centers on supposed "historical" events of the post-Civil War South, exploiting in turn nearly every imaginable paranoid stereotype of race and culture, including white fears about miscegenation, or the sexual mingling of the races.

One of the most infamous scenes in the film, and the one that Trotter most objected to, involves a former slave played by a white actor in blackface who tries to force himself upon a young virginal white woman.

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The terrified girl flees and is pursued through the woods by her crazed assailant. The scene ends with her throwing herself off a high cliff rather than submit to the unthinkable fate that awaits her. The girl's symbolically sacrificial death — she died to preserve Southern Maidenhood — is later avenged by the newly formed Ku Klux Klan, depicted in the film as modern-day Knights of the Roundtable and guardians of young white women and Old South values everywhere. Trotter made a personal appeal to Griffith to remove the highly inflammatory scene, and the director agreed, only to go back on his promise later.

Despite the controversy, the movie went on to reap huge profits and, because of its revolutionary technical innovations, forever change the way motion pictures were made. The story's originator, Thomas Dixon, was born in Shelby in , one year before the Civil War ended.