Hope of Escape – Film Screening in Charleston

The film Hope of Escape will be screened at the International African American Museum in Charleston as part of their Summer Film Series on Thursday. May 30. 2024 at 6:00 p.m. Hope of Escape is a feature length historical drama that follows the true story of Diana Williams, her daughter Cornelia, and her daughter’s sweetheart, Wilby, as they plan their own emancipation from slavery. SC Humanities supported the film with a Major Grant.

Hope of Escape offers an alternative to the standard Hollywood “slavery film” genre that usually depicts excessive violence and victimization. This film features enslaved persons with agency, who used their special skills and literacy to plan their emancipation. The film also shines light on the “above-ground Underground Railroad” when slave masters were paid a “ransom” (much like how Frederick Douglass gained freedom) by families in order to free their enslaved relatives. Filmmaker Amy Gerber, who is a direct descendent of Diana, Cornelia and Wilby, brings her forebears to life by following the harrowing journey they made. Hope of Escape recasts the history of enslaved persons pursuing freedom and highlights the trials and triumphs of one family determined to make a better life and a better country. Learn more about the film.

The Williams family has connections to South Carolina. Diana Williams was enslaved on Rice Hope Plantation in Moncks Corner.

The International African American Museum will screen Hope of Escape as part of their Summer Film Series in the African Ancestors Memorial Garden. The outdoor program will take place on Thursday. May 30. 2024 at 6:00 p.m. The Museum is located at 14 Wharfside St, Charleston, SC 29401. Learn more: https://iaamuseum.org/event/summer-film-series-hope-of-escape/.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c)3 organization is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos, and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.