HomeEntertainmentIs Emancipation Based on A Real Life Story?

Is Emancipation Based on A Real Life Story?

The world has changed a lot since slavery and we have grown to be more aware of our past. It’s influenced how we live lives and just how educated, less racist and in touch, we are with ourselves.

Recent developments brought racial issues on the table right from Meghan Markle’s outrage at the Royal Family to the recent George Floyd’s brutal death. Each step forward calls out the elite of the society regardless of their communities and their connections, the world is changing and putting a step ahead. 

It’s important to keep in mind the shift we’re going through and the way it might change our storytelling, including in films and on TV. The past is an integral part of much of who we are today, but it also can be painful to revisit as well.

It can be difficult sometimes to watch movies or TV shows that portray the lives people lived in the past because they often aren’t made with an understanding of their perspective at the time.

Various films over the years including 12 Years A Slave, Moundboud, If Beale Street Could Talk and many more have tried putting the perspective and experiences on a global plate for the world to witness racial indifference and white supremacy. 

Similarly, Will Smith’s latest period drama Emancipation has been making roars in the cinema despite its money collection. The film is actually placing itself as one of the hardcore elements of racial indifference and the slavery culture that has cut down the American ideologies with the modern times.

The film has done its job of placing a great example of the intent and actually portraying the ugly truth which is heavily inspired by real-life tragedy.

Yes, many of us have had this thought before researching a film whether it was based on a true story or not. If you’re curious about Emancipation based on a real-life story, check out this article to know everything. 

Is Emancipation Based on A Real Life Story?

The highly anticipated film Emancipation starring the legend Will Smith released on December 2nd unveils a hidden ugly truth of American elite communities demonstrating their powers on the weak and helpless. 

Emancipation is an interesting yet dreadful watch brought back in limelight from 1995. It manages to provide fans with a more modern take on slavery.

The story focuses on Gordon played by Smith – who you know as Whipped Peter – and how he copes with being separated from his wife Dodienne and children and the struggles of working daily.

The powerful cinema heading to streaming platform AppleTV on December 9th is a true story of an enslaved black man who managed to escape a plantation during the Civil War and went on to help with abolitionist efforts.

The film depicted the real-life story of “Whipped Peter” from the famous slavery picture that shook the world to its core unleashing the merciless side of American oppressors. 

The Photograph “Whipped Peter”

It all started with a photograph of a slave who was whipped until his back was reduced to little more than exposed bone & muscle helping reveals the brutality of American slavery.

Actor Will Smith stars in “Emancipation,” a film that recounts the story of this slave and how he managed to escape from servitude.

In the famous pictures despite being flayed open and marked with scars, Gordon defied the whip by posing with a powerful attitude for a portrait in 1863.

At the height of the US Civil War, when people were often criticized for claiming that slavery was inhumane, the photo came to reveal a level of reality which couldn’t be denied.

The man in the photo became known as ‘Whipped Peter’, named after his appearance. Historians have debated what his real name is, but there’s no denying that he left a major impact on the American psyche.

The photo was taken by Barbara Krauthamer, a leading historian of US slavery with the intent of portraying the horrors of slavery. These people in the image had to live through this and would have been a witness to such atrocities.

Though he used his art to speak out against slavery and promote the Union Army, many details of Gordon’s life are unknown because he only worked for a short time as an officer in the civil war before retreating back to his New England home.

Who Was Peter From The “Whipped Peter” Photo In Real Life?

The horrors of slavery are almost impossible to capture, even with words. But the Civil War was a turning point in history where photography became increasingly prevalent, and it helped to document the horrors of war in graphic detail.

One image captures the brutality of this period and gives a clear insight into what life was really like for slaves: known as “Whipped Peter,” these photos show

According to histories of the time, an enslaved man named Gordon escaped from a Louisiana plantation of the Lyons family in March 1863. He was referred to initially as “Whipped Peter” and later given the name Peter in “Emancipation”.

After running to the North, his story was reported by Harper’s Weekly and other journals, a well-known outlet published in New York City. He avoided being tracked down by Lyons’s dogs by crossing mules and masking himself. 

Eventually, he arrived at a Union army camp in Baton Rouge. There he met multiple doctors who helped with his back. He also met a photographer who took pictures of his scarring which had been done while he was whipped by an overseer.

He then reportedly joined the Union Army after the Emancipation Proclamation allowed freed enslaved people to join up. There are a few scattered reports of his adventures but it was said he was taken prisoner by Confederate soldiers who were pretty much okay with him being left dead.

The publishing of an iconic photo, the molestation of Gordon, had a major impact at the height of the Civil War. This image was quickly distributed by abolitionists to emphasize the horrors of slavery and to combat Southern propaganda accusing.

Emancipation starring Will Smith is available to stream on AppleTV. 

Parul Bhilwara
Parul Bhilwara
I write for a living, for fun and for the love of it. I have a deep understanding of the Internet, the digital world and pop culture. Watch out for this space to get updates on your favourite movies and TV shows.


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