Mass. 34th

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Today we hear the word war and thoughts shift to the Middle East. In the 60’s we may have thought about Vietnam, in the 40’s perhaps Pearl Harbor or Hitler and in the 20’s maybe the U Boat or the Red Barron. The supposed winner and loser in each war may have crossed the mind as well but not much more. Why did these wars happen? What was being fought for and who was making the sacrifice? In David W. Blight’s article, “The meaning or the fight: Frederick Douglass and the memory of the fifty fourth Massachusetts,” he proves that in modern American society the memory of war is that of a fight and not of what was being fought for. Media, the entertainment industry, and even our education systems paint quite a different picture for each of us. In the article, Blight argues that portrayal of historic events lack the actual tale of the very reason that so many passionately went to war. From the article you learn that film fails to draw from actual significance of war, monuments are erected to glorify the fight, and in the specific instance of blacks in the Civil War, Douglass is portrayed often times as a much smaller influence than he actually was. Blight uses the movie “Glory” as a great example of the cinematic portrayal of the fight rather than portrayal of the real heart of the Fifty Fourth and their struggle. It seems Blight’s biggest reason for using this movie as a prime example for this is the miniscule role of Frederick Douglass. The movie uses Douglass’ “great face” in a quick, insignificant cinematic moment that one might miss if not paying attention. While Douglass was a grand influence not only on the members of the Fifty Fourth, he had a grand influence on the Civil War. Although he did not don a uniform, he was the face and voice of a revolution. Through the cinematic eye, however, the hard campaigning, empowering, and recruiting that Douglass did just may have not seemed that appealing in comparison to a great marching scene or one that showed those...
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