‘Glory’ in Civil War series

Jul 25, 2014
Denzel Washington, left, and Morgan Freeman star in “Glory,” which was nominated for five Academy Awards and won three including Washington’s for Best Supporting Actor.

Camden — The Monday Night Movie in the Park for Aug. 4 will be “Glory” (1989, USA), which runs 122 minutes and is rated R for graphic battle scenes. The movie, part of Camden Public Library’s Civil War series of lectures and events, will begin at dusk, about 8:15 p.m., in the Camden Amphitheatre on Atlantic Avenue.

“Glory” is a celebration of a little-known act of mass courage during the Civil War. The film is about the first unit of what became known as the United States Colored Troops, as told from the point of view of its white commanding officer. The all-black members of the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was headed by Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick), the son of an influential abolitionist. Despite the fact that the Civil War is ostensibly being fought on their behalf, black soldiers were denied virtually every privilege and amenity that was matter of course for their white counterparts and were given the most menial and demeaning of tasks. Still, none of the soldiers quit the regiment when given the chance.

The unofficial leaders of the group depicted are gravedigger John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) and fugitive slave Trip (Denzel Washington), respectively representing the brains and heart of the organization. The 54th acquitted themselves valiantly at Fort Wagner, S.C., charging a fortification manned by some 1,000 Confederates and losing nearly half its men. Their bravery resulted in the Union accepting thousands of black men for combat, which Lincoln credited with turning the tide of the war.

The showing is free; bring blankets or lawn chairs for seating. If the weather is rainy, the movie will be shown indoors. The August movies are sponsored by Allen Insurance and Financial.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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