It’s been a while (a long, looong while) but I’m back with some thoughts to share, specifically regarding Underground. I love the show since the premiere and that love has required a lot of defending against haters. But now that the season has ended I’ve had time to mull over a lot of the things that struck me and one of those things is motherhood. Season one presents us with three black women who are slaves on a Georgia plantation. What’s unique about these women is their declaration of motherhood, a right not afforded to them due to their being, legally, property. That declaration of motherhood is a form of freedom as violently toiled for as physically escaping the plantation.
Toni Morrison first presented the argument for motherhood as freedom in her novel, Beloved. Morrison looks at real-life Margaret Garner and how her decision to kill her child was Garner’s defense against slavery and assertion of motherhood. I believe, in their own way, the mothers of Underground are odes to Garner and mothers alike in the age of slavery who did not allow an institution of hate and violence bar them from claiming, loving, and protecting their children.
I’m from Ohio, a prominent state in the Underground Railroad and trek to freedom for many courageous runaway slaves. When WGN announced it’s new show, ‘Underground,’ about a group of individuals determined not to be bound by slavery, and the individuals committed to the abolitionist movement, I vowed to watch. Now, I am an avid fan.
I wrote a piece for Superselected on how Underground is revolutionizing the depiction of slavery due to its focus on resistance.