It’s an amazing story that started well before the Civil War. Conventional wisdom was that African Americans could only progress so far. Their race was believed to hold limits. But through education and some incredible bravery, the two boys James McCune Smith and Henry Highland Garnet beat the stacked odds and through harrowing circumstances revealed visions of freedom that hadn’t happened yet. When African kids were displayed as freak show exhibits, these men went on as contemporaries of Frederick Douglass and one spoke to Congress. They differed in their approaches, one more moderate, the other fiery. Sound familiar? It’s a fascinating story which perhaps Hollywood will notice.

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