One page journal after watching Glory (1989)

Glory One of the interesting things about this movie is the way it bases itself on the real-life history. It makes this clear by starting with the written text that informs the audience that the main character of the story, Robert Gould Shaw, wrote a series of letters home to his parents when he went away to fight in the Civil War and that these letters are still viewable at the Houghton Library at Harvard. As the action of the film starts, it does so with a voice-over narration in the form of a letter written to Shaws mother. This makes it clear that the movie is based to a great degree on actual events that are reflected within these letters. At the end of the film, the text informs the audience of the significance of their sacrifice as it was through this regiment that Shaw proved the bravery and possibility of the black troops if given the same degree of training as white troops. Although the fort was never taken, their sacrifice encouraged the Union army to raise more black troops and put them in fighting positions. This change was credited with helping to turn the tide of war.
Racial issues also play a big role in the film. It first becomes clear as Shaws regiment marches into camp and a number of racial slurs can be heard. In the dining tents, the black men are separated from the white people and Shaw continuously wonders whether his men are getting the right kind of training to make them ready for battle. He has to fight to get them shoes and he supports them in their demand for equal pay. One thing I liked was how the film showed that not all black people were the same just as not all white people were the same. History tends to look at black people as if they were all exactly the same, but they had different levels of society, too. Thomas Searles was a well-educated free black man who was the son of a free black man. Trip, on the other hand, is an escaped slave. When the company arrives in South Carolina, they meet contraband for the first time and the differences become even greater as Thomas has to ask John Rollins to translate. There are other scenes as well, where Thomas doesnt seem to fit in with the rest of the black soldiers. In Georgia, Shaw comes across a general of higher rank with highly racist attitudes, constantly referring to his black soldiers as nothing but children and offering them no training, again forcing Shaw to turn to threats in order to move his regiment forward.