Will Smith has signed on to play a runaway slave in Antoine Fuqua's action thriller Emancipation, which is described as being closer in tone and feeling to Apocalypto and The Revenant than Quentin Tarantino's Danjgo Unchanged or 12 Years a Slave.
Bill Collage wrote the script for the movie, which centers around the story of Peter. Peter is a runaway slave whose story went viral in 1863. From a slave on a Louisiana plantation owned by John and Bridget Lyons, he received a brutal a whipping by one of the plantation's overseers that nearly killed him. Peter decided to flee to the North, where he joined the Union Army. When peter showed doctors his back during a medical examination, they took photos of his scars, and one photo is known today as "the scourged back", which was published by The Independent in May 1863, and later by Harper Weekly in its July 4 issue.
The photo was shown around the world as proof of the cruelty of American slavery. It prompted may free Blacks to join the Union army to fight the racists in the South.
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