what is the good lord bird about

Premise edit

It is not only Brown’s story, but also the stories of those who went with him. Hawke claims, “If you really study this character, he poses a number of philosophical questions to you.” He challenges why so many of us accept the unacceptable”. Participating in the production was author James McBride, who said, “To me and to many Black people who are no longer alive, John Brown is a real hero.” John Brown began the Civil War and dedicated his life, as well as the lives of two of his sons, to the cause of Black people’s freedom. They buried this mans story for a long time. “. [7].

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what is the good lord bird about

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  • National Book AwardWinner, 2013
  • Print length 432 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher Riverhead Books
  • Dimensions 6.6 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • ISBN-10 1594486344
  • ISBN-13 978-1594486340
  • See all details

Cast edit

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers (millions)
1 “Meet the Lord” Albert Hughes Mark Richard & Ethan Hawke October 4, 2020 ( ) 0.251[10]
John Brown and his “Pottawatomie Rifles”, including three of his sons, in territorial Kansas meet a young runaway slave. The slave, using the nickname Onion, joins Johns group; John believes Onion is a girl and gives her a new store-bought dress, intended for one of his daughters. Throughout the series whites believe Onion is a girl, but the blacks see that hes a boy. Browns goal is to free all the slaves, which involves killing slavers, in a massacre. Johns son Frederick ends up being killed, while another son abandons the group, tired of fighting.
2 “A Wicked Plot” Kevin Hooks Erika L. Johnson & Mark Richard October 11, 2020 ( ) 0.254[12]
Onion and Bob get separated from the Brown party. Because Onions skin is so light, he pretends to be white, and that Bob is his slave. Hoping to reach the abolitionist town of Tabor, Iowa, where John Brown and his sons were headed, they are taken, not happily, across the Missouri River to the fictional slave-trading town of Pikesville, Missouri; Bob is put to work in a sawmill, and Onion cleans rooms in the Pikesville Hotel. Onion is central to a planned insurrection of slaves to enable them to escape. The plan is discovered, and 9 slaves about to be hanged are rescued by John Brown and his troop, who arrive with guns and a cannon.[11]
3 “Mister Fred” Darnell Martin Erika L. Johnson & Jeff Augustin October 18, 2020 ( ) 0.182[13]
Brown, accompanied by Onion, travels by train to Rochester, New York, to talk with Frederick Douglass. Douglass delivers his famous July 4th speech. Douglass tells Brown that he cannot help him by organizing support among the blacks, as Brown wanted. Douglass is a somewhat pompous lecher, though smart and educated; he has two wives, one black and one white. He attempts to seduce Onion. Onion and John meet Emperor, a black escaped slave who is living with Douglass.
4 “Smells Like Bear” Kevin Hooks Mark Richard & Kristen SaBerre October 25, 2020 ( ) 0.235[14]
Being sought by federal agents, Brown tells Onion to spot them from the smell of the bear grease in their hair. Brown later meets Hugh Forbes, a soldier who fought with Garibaldi, and gives him all his cash, more than Forbes wants, to hire him to train his men in warfare; Forbes, however, leaves town with the money. Onion is disgusted with Brown because he gave away all his money and now they have to walk to Canada. He also feels exploited, the token slave Brown trots out before audiences. Brown gives Onion his grandmothers Bible in atonement. Although Onion is free in Canada, he chooses to remain with Brown. Brown speaks in a church in Chatham, Ontario, the terminus of the Underground Railroad, proclaiming the need for violence to end slavery. He says he is not seeking money, but needs men. He refuses to divulge his plan, which God has put in his heart. Harriet Tubman, called “General”, comes forward and tells the audience to trust Brown. They start volunteering. John tells the new recruits of his plan to attack Harpers Ferry, not just to free the slaves, but to start a civil war.
5 “Hiving the Bees” Haifaa al-Mansour Mark Richard & Lauren Signorino November 1, 2020 ( ) 0.206[15]
Douglass intends to be the most photographed American, but he does not smile, to put the lie to the stereotype of the “Happy Negro”. Onion and Cook arrive in Maryland and get their first sight of Harpers Ferry, Browns destination. Cook rents the Kennedy farmhouse. Onion is told he could find other blacks at Colonel Louis Washingtons plantation, but blacks there throw him off the property. Maryland is a slave state and blacks think Brown will get them in trouble. Onion talks to “the railroad man”, Heyward Shepherd. The rest of Browns army arrives. The men have to stay upstairs to avoid being seen; a neighbor, Mrs. Hoffmaster, calls three times, getting suspicious. Douglass, accompanied by Emperor, comes to Maryland to meet with Brown. Douglass refuses to be a part of Browns plan. Emperor, however, will go with Brown, so Douglass returns to Rochester alone. Onion meets Annie Brown and Oliver Browns wife, who are doing the cooking and laundry. Annie and Onion become enamored of each other. As the two women are being sent away before the shooting starts, Onion reveals to Annie his actual gender, and his feelings for her, feeling that he will never see her again. He kisses her, and departs.
6 “Jesus Is Walkin” Kate Woods Mark Richard & Erika L. Johnson November 8, 2020 ( ) 0.190[16]
The railroad man gives a passphrase to Onion, for use when the men reach Harpers Ferry. However, Onion forgets to tell them until it is too late. Jason Brown shoots the railroad man after he is confronted for not knowing the phrase. Now the railroad man can never rally the local blacks, as he was supposed to do. Browns ragtag army is gathered together, cleaning their guns and prepping them for the nights assault on Harpers Ferry. Owen has stayed behind to rally the supposed crew of hiving bees. Brown is the only member of the posse who believes in the hiving, so sure that he has the Lords backing that he neglects the need for a human plan. The negroes that are to help him never appear. Brown and his men take the Armory and station themselves inside the Armorys fire engine house, taking fifty hostages with them. He trades a hostage for breakfast for all. His men tell him they should leave while they still can, but Brown is sure negroes will appear. Onion disobeys Browns order to leave and save himself; he and two others go back to Col. Washingtons and take him hostage and set his slaves free. Jim, Washingtons coachman, who had kicked Onion off the plantation, tells Col. Washington he has had too many years of him; Washington had sold his mother away. They head back to Harpers Ferry in Washingtons coach. The raiders that were supposed to hold the bridge are all dead. The survivors cannot get away. The townspeople realize there has been a murder, an insurrection, and call out the alarm. A stopped train departs and can give an alarm in the next town. Bullets are exchanged; the mayor of Harpers Ferry is killed, and Oliver Brown dies in his fathers arms. Federal troops arrive.
7 “Last Words” Michael Nankin Mark Richard & Ethan Hawke November 15, 2020 ( ) 0.317[17]
Narration from Douglass is heard explaining that the Harpers Ferry raid helped ignite the Civil War. Clarence brings Onion to Browns prison cell, who notes that Brown had made more of an impact with his words, rather than with blunt violence. Browns life is shown as a media event. Onion overhears a literal barbershop conversation about whether or not Brown was foolish, comparing him to Jesus. Onion notes the acceleration of public support for abolition, culminating in the Civil War. On the eve of his public hanging, Brown starts to believe that he will be more of an asset to the cause by dying than he ever was by living.


What is The Good Lord Bird meaning?

Ivory-billed woodpeckers were indeed called “Good Lord Bird” or “Great God Bird” because of their huge size and beautiful colors. The idea behind the nickname, just as Frederick explains on the show, is that people who spotted the gorgeous birds, which had a 2½-foot wingspan, couldn’t help but exclaim out loud.

What is the plot of The Good Lord Bird?

The tale is told by a young slave from the Kansas Territory, Henry Shackleford, who’s around 12 when he’s freed by Brown and mistaken for a girl. It’s an error that goes uncorrected, and Henry, dubbed “little Onion” by his new companion, finds the disguise useful as he travels with Brown and his men.

What is the theme of The Good Lord Bird?

The Good Lord Bird received the National Book Award and great critical acclaim, and is now being adapted into a television series for Showtime. It examines themes of slavery, loyalty, racism, and violent protest.

How accurate is The Good Lord Bird?

Ultimately, the show isn’t meant to be a 100% accurate recreation of the Harpers Ferry raid. It’s not John Brown’s story. It’s the story of a young man trying to stay alive while growing from childhood to adulthood, and, in that sense, the series succeeds beautifully.