Movie : Nightjohn
Director: Charles Burnett
Actors: 1996, Beau Bridges, Bill Cobbs, Bill Gribble, Bruce Evers, Carl Lumbly, Danny Nelson, Deborah Duke, Gabriel Casseus, Gerald Brown, James Mayberry, Jordan Williams, Kathleen York, Lorraine Toussaint, Monica Ford, Patty Mack, Robin Michelle McClamb, Shannon Eubanks, Tom Nowicki
Runtime: 92 mins
Released: June 01, 1996
Nightjohn: Sarny, a 12-year-old slave girl in the ante-bellum South, faces a relatively hopeless life. Her chief duties at the plantation of Clel Waller are serving at table, spitting tobacco juice on roses to prevent bugs, and secretly conveying intimate messages between Wallers wife, Callie, and Dr. Chamberlaine. Then Nightjohn arrives. A former runaway slave who bears telltale scars on his back, he takes Sarny under his wing and, in exchange for a pinch of tobacco, secretly begins to teach her to read and write, a crime punishable by death. “Words,” he says, “are freedom. Slavery is made of words: laws, deeds and passes.” He starts by drawing letters in the dirt and cautions her that no one must know. At her baptism, Sarny steals a Bible that belongs to Wallers son, Jeffrey, and practices reading by lantern-light in the slave quarters. The same Bible serves another purpose when…
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