Amazing Grace tells the story of the twenty-year effort of William Wilberforce, member of the British House of Commons, to abolish the slave trade and slavery. Even though his bills were defeated year after year, and even though he was chronically ill, he continued to organize the opposition, gain support of other members of parliament, and strategize ways to build an eventual majority in 1807. This film commemorates the two hundredth anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Great Britain, when that bill passed. The film brings to life characters whose names we know from history classes and the compelling story of the horrible conditions experienced by slaves on their journey and in subsequent places of servitude.
The well-known hymn "Amazing Grace" serves as a central inspiration for the justice Wilberforce seeks. Written by John Newton, a slave trader turned Anglican priest whom Wilberforce knew, the hymn was an expression of his gratitude to God for giving him the ability to see his life for what it was, to turn away from the "many dangers, toils and snares" of his former life, and to turn toward "home."
Three scenes from the movie are described, with questions about each scene. The Leader's Guide provides some directions for discussion. It is expected that most participants have seen the movie.