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Barry Jenkins Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

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“The Underground Railroad” attempts to upend viewers’ notions of what it meant to be enslaved

By Commentaries/Opinions

By William Nash — Speaking on NPR’s Fresh Air, Barry Jenkins, the director of “The Underground Railroad,” noted that “before making this show … I would have said I’m the descendant of enslaved Africans.” “I think now that answer has evolved,” he continued. “I am the descendant of blacksmiths and midwives and herbalists and spiritualists.” As a scholar interested in how modern representations of enslavement shape our understanding of the past,…

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